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Logitech, iFixit to offer parts to stop folks binning their computer mouse

Stick with me and the mice live ... with pads, batteries and screws for two models

Peripherals maker Logitech has struck a deal with repair outfit iFixit to begin selling components and repair guides for some models of computer mice. 

From the beginning of northern hemisphere summer, parts for Logitech mice will be available through iFixit's Logitech Repair Hub, but only for the Logitech MX Master and MX Anywhere. Logitech called these the "launch products" for the collaboration. As is typically the case with iFixit repair alliances, genuine parts for Logitech mice will be available individually or as a part of kits that also include all the necessary tools.

"More can be done by brands and by broader value chains who wish to play an active role in the shift to a more circular economy," said Prakash Arunkundrum, chief operating officer at Logitech. "I am excited that we are able to collaborate with iFixit to develop better designs and make it easier for consumers to have a self-repair option to extend the life of our products."

Repairability – we've heard of it

In its announcement of the partnership, Logitech said it was committed to addressing the growing challenge of electronic waste, much of which winds up in landfills. Part of that commitment, Logitech said, is a sustainable design paradigm that increases lifespan of devices and makes repairing them easier if and when they're damaged.

As for the wear, tear and damage that'll be repairable under the iFixit program … that's limited for now. Come summer, owners of a series 2 or 3 Logitech MX Master or MX Anywhere owners will be able to order new batteries, feet and screws for their mouse, but that's all. Other busted parts, like a worn switch or scroll wheel, will hopefully become available eventually; Logitech didn't immediately respond to our queries about the repair program.

Not many mice make it past their fifth birthday

It's difficult to get a handle on exactly how many computer mice are binned each year, but US electronics recycler ERI said the mouse was one of the shortest-lived computer peripherals, with nearly 100 percent of mice reaching the end of their lives by the five-year mark. According to ERI, 23.5 million computer mice were sold globally in 2010. That same year, however, only a paltry 7.8 million were recycled, and those mouse margins may be even slimmer still as ERI's statistics mix mice and keyboards in a single category.

French officials investigating Apple over planned obsolescence

Following complaints from French right-to-repair advocacy group Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP), the Paris Prosecutor's Office said it was investigating Apple over its actions to restrict repairability.

The complaint from HOP hinges on Apple's use of serial number pairing for its repair parts, which restricts repairability by requiring replacement parts to be registered with Apple and paired to a device's IMEI number. HOP said this allows Apple to restrict sale and installation of generic parts as well as official Apple components installed by third-party repair shops.

French officials said the probe has been ongoing since December.

According to the United Nations Global E-waste Monitor's 2020 report, the most recent version, a record 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated globally in 2019, up 21 percent in just five years. The UN classifies e-waste as any garbage with a battery or plug, and predicts that the world will reach 74 metric tons of annual e-waste generation by 2030.

"This makes e-waste the world's fastest-growing domestic waste stream, fueled mainly by higher consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment, short life cycles, and few options for repair," the UN said. 

Repairability laws have slowly been expanding their reach over the past few years. In the EU, proposed rules would add electronic devices to existing lists of devices that must be designed with reparability in mind if being sold in the European Economic Area.

The UK's own right-to-repair rules, which went into effect in 2021, require similar post-warranty repairability, but exempt electronics like laptops, smartphones and tablets from the rules. The US lacks federal right-to-repair rules, but several states have enacted their own repairability bills. Only New York, which passed a stripped-down version of its electronics repairability law with serious industry concessions, covers consumer electronics; other state laws affect things like agricultural equipment and wheelchairs, but not smartphones and computer components. ®

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