May 26, 2022

Why Is It So Hard To Fix Our Electronics, And What Can We Do About It?

by How to Save a Planet

Background show artwork for How to Save a Planet

Electronics — smartphones, computers, televisions — exact a hefty toll on the planet. One way to lighten their load? Use them for longer. And yet, for decades now, manufacturers have made replacing our gadgets easier than repairing them. But Kyle Wiens, co-founder of the repair website iFixit, has been working to reverse that. He talks to us about why repair matters, why our devices are so hard to repair, and the policies that could change that.

Calls to Action

  • Read up on the "Freedom to Repair Act", the proposed federal right to repair bill.
  • Talk to your state or federal representatives (or both) about supporting Right to Repair legislation. Visit (i.e. or to locate your reps and learn more about state actions.
  • Have an old phone gathering dust? Check out websites like Backmarket or Swappa. There you can sell your old phone - our first call to action that might earn you some cash - extending its life. You can also try donating it in your community. Domestic violence shelters in particular sometimes have a need for old phones. 

If you take an action we recommend in one of our episodes, do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear how it went and what it felt like. Record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us via our Listener Mail Form. We might use it in an upcoming episode. Find all the actions we’ve recommended on our show here!

How to Save a Planet is a Spotify original podcast and Gimlet production. It's hosted by Alex Blumberg. 

This episode was produced by Kendra Pierre-Louis. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Rachel Waldholz, Daniel Ackerman and Anna Ladd. Our supervising producer is Matt Shilts. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. 

Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music by Peter Leonard, Catherine Anderson and Emma Munger. 

Our fact checker for this episode is Claudia Geib.

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