Nevada lawmakers push for bill to curb growing e-waste problem

Media Contacts
Josh Chetwynd

Levi Kamolnick

Similar legislation has been introduced in 25 states this year

Environment Nevada

CARSON CITY — A growing movement to fix America’s repair problems reached the Silver State on Tuesday when Nevada Assemblywoman Selena Torres introduced a bill (AB 221) to liberate the electronics repair economy from the restrictive trade practices of many tech manufacturers. 

Torres’ bill, co-sponsored by four other members in the Assembly (Peters, Watts, Considine, and Duran), would require consumer electronics manufacturers to make “repair essentials” — such as parts, tools, software, diagrams, etc. — available for products priced between $100 and $5,000 at a fair and reasonable price. Manufacturers routinely limit the availability of these repair essentials as a means of monopolizing the repair market on their products, oftentimes disincentivizing repair and incentivizing new purchases. 

“E-waste is a bigger problem than most people realize,” said Environment Nevada State Director Levi Kamolnick. “The reality is that our hyper-consumerist approach to the tech economy has a cost. Almost half-a-million phones are thrown away in America each day and many of the heavy metals needed for these products were mined in Nevada. Although the majority end up in our landfills, metals like lead and mercury find their way into our water through the runoff cycle, imposing another cost that the manufacturers take no responsibility for.” 

But environmental concerns aren’t the only drivers of this bill. Assemblywoman Torres, who formerly worked at a phone repair shop, argues that changing our repair economy can have a drastic impact on both jobs and education. 

“As an educator, I’ve seen the enormous toll our technology shortages have caused during the pandemic,” said Assemblywoman Torres. “By making repair accessible and affordable for things like webcams and laptops, low-income families will have the opportunity to buy refurbished technology that will be less expensive than retail. Jobs are another huge piece of this because just about every piece of consumer electronics is made overseas. If you give people the opportunity to fix these products they are going to utilize local labor instead. That’ll be a huge boost for out-of-work Nevadans and will make our state the repair capital of the nation.”