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Clinic Helps Consumers Fix What They Already Bought (And Broke)

DENVER (CBS4) -- Many people throw out perfectly good products just because they don't know how to fix them when they break.

Looking back, Jim Schapiro remembers that, as a kid, when something broke, you fixed it.

He says, "It's what you did. In those days you had to fix everything."

His dad was an electrical engineer which makes him handy around common household items, like Julie Axline's broken iron. She explains, "It fell off the board one day and when it came down, it split the cord right in half"

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Saturday, they met up at the U-Fix It event hosted by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) at the Denver Public Library. They are trying to fix it, because it's still good and they want to keep it out of the landfill.

State representative Brianna Titone from Arvada likes what she sees.

"We throw out so many things in our lives these days."

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She has sponsored a bill - that will soon come up for a vote - which encourages companies to provide consumers with tools, parts and instructions so they can fix their things when they break instead of buying new ones.

"We want to really try to encourage people to keep things out of the landfill and actually work on fixing them, and see if we can keep that thing in circulation and use for a long period of time. It's good for people's budgets and also for the environment" Brianna says.

Titone doesn't know how many of her colleagues will support the bill because she fears outside lobbyists have been trying to sway the vote in favor of preserving planned obsolescence. Julie supports the idea because Jim helped her fix her iron.

"Now I have a brand new iron again" she says. "I think I just needed the confidence."

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Jim says that the goal of the event. "We hope people come away with more confidence that they can fix a lot of things."

Representative Titone says the biggest group this effects is farmers who often times can and do like to fix their own equipment, but it's hard to find parts and tools to do so. Then when they do it voids their warranty.

Twenty-two other states have tried to pass bills like this before but have failed.

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