Report: Consumer Protection

What are Pennsylvanians Fixing?

The devices Pennsylvanians tried to fix in 2018 and why it’s harder to repair them than it should be
Released by: PennPIRG


Here in Pennsylvania, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

According to a review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone,” more than 2 million unique users from Pennsylvania went onto their website,, to look up how to repair something in 2018.

Looking more closely into that data from iFixit, the top ten device types that Pennsylvania attempted to fix were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, gaming consoles, tablets, vacuums, desktop computers, watches, instruments, and wireless speakers. Cell phone repair guides were by far the most popular, receiving 28 percent of all the page views.


Every item that can be reused should be reused. But our use of increasingly disposable electronics is creating a brewing ecological crisis.

Electronic waste is now the fastest growing waste stream in the world.1 In America, 416,000 phones enter the waste stream each day, approximately 15,200 per day in Pennsylvania.2 According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 165 pounds of raw material are required to produce one 8-ounce cell phone.3 The vast majority of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with cell phones comes from the production of the phone, not the cell phone’s use.4



One of the benefits of the rise of the internet is that consumers have many ways to learn how to fix their stuff. One of the most popular and utilized do-it-yourself repair websites is iFixit, which offers guides, videos and tutorials to consumers and professional independent repairers on how to fix everything from vacuums to cars to cell phones.

On this website, Pennsylvanians can learn how to replace batteries and screens on our phones, change the spark plugs on our cars, add memory to our computers, and many other repairs.

According to data from iFixit, the top ten devices that Pennsylvanians attempted to fix most often in 2018 were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, gaming consoles, tablets, vacuums, desktop computers, watches, instruments, and wireless speakers. Cell phones repair had the most views of all device types, receiving 28 percent of the views by Pennsylvanians.

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