Repairing the Future: The Global Fight for Accessible Fixes and Sustainable Tech


  • Dr. A. Shaji George Independent Researcher, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Dr. T. Baskar Professor, Department of Physics, Shree Sathyam College of Engineering and Technology, Sankari Taluk, Tamil Nadu, India



Right to repair, planned obsolescence, E-waste, Consumer rights, Tradeoffs, Sustainability, Innovation, Developing countries, Circular economy, Collaboration


Electronic waste (e-waste) increases exponentially in tandem with the proliferation of electronic devices on a global scale, with enormous environmental and health repercussions. A maximum of fifty million metric tons of electronic waste were produced in 2021. Hazardous chemicals leach into soil and groundwater through unregulated disposal, endangering vulnerable waste workers. Nonetheless, these alarming patterns obscure nuances in the contexts of various nations. The historical and cultural significance of repair and reuse in India is conspicuous through the presence of cobblers and sari repair businesses. Recent economic development, however, has given rise to business models based on planned obsolescence, which discourage repair. Presently, a worldwide "right to repair" movement opposes intellectual property and manufacturing regimes that impose restrictions. Right to repair reforms provide access to repair manuals, spare parts, and other proprietary resources that are typically restricted by companies such as Apple for independent repair businesses and consumers. More than twenty-seven nations have enacted such legislation. Proponents assert that open access will reduce electronic waste while simultaneously generating employment and a domestic repair sector. Opponents argue that the removal of restrictions undermines the motivations that propel technological innovation. India occupies a central position in relation to these tensions. Fifty companies have ratified a voluntary Right to Repair framework since its inception in 2023. Modular design, affordable spare parts, and the formalization of the informal repair sector are all encouraged by the guidelines. The framework, however, risks being toothless in the absence of a parliamentary law. Manufacturers with considerable sway lobby against proposed mandates such as universal USB-C chargers by 2025. Amid e-waste disposal, the $20 billion domestic repair and $5 billion refurbishment markets remain underserved. The export of used electronics places a disproportionate amount of electronic waste on developing nations, which lack the necessary infrastructure to manage it safely. Delhi is already gravely contaminated by unregulated waste disposal. Nevertheless, the adoption of repair practices does present temporary economic benefits in the form of employment generation in refurbishment. Furthermore, reuse and recycling help conserve rare earth metals and lithium, which are essential electronic resources for the transition to renewable energy. The technological and environmental futures of the Global South are probably dependent on the expansion of ethical repair ecosystems. In spite of contradictory motivations, developing countries are at the vanguard of sustainable technology policy, as they must not only deal with the waste of other nations but also protect their own resources.




How to Cite

Dr. A. Shaji George, & Dr. T. Baskar. (2024). Repairing the Future: The Global Fight for Accessible Fixes and Sustainable Tech. Partners Universal Innovative Research Publication, 2(2), 71–88.