Sustainability is a global issue, but much of our current focus is on the ‘visible’: the plastic waste in our oceans and piles of landfill. But use of our earth’s resources and its impact on climate are equally significant; recycling only recovers a fraction of the resources consumed and can potentially create even more toxic waste.

One typical mobile phone, weighing around 160g, can require up to 35,000g of the earth to be mined, and result in around 85,000g of waste, before you have even opened the box. Add to that nearly 80% of electronics is not recycled properly and the problem is enormous.

Making products last longer, through repair, reuse and refurbishment has the potential to make a substantial positive impact.

This project takes a constructive or solutions approach to this global issue; to identify and shed a light on repairers, re-users and solution providers.

We used to value our 'things'. They were precious; created from scarce resources and hours of human endeavour. But a combination of consumerism and mass production has lead to 'things' of short life, of less perceived value and much harder to repair and keep working. To compound matters, our ability to repair has faltered, driven by the combination of lack of knowledge, lost skills, product design that inhibits repair and a legal framework that makes it difficult to set up self or independent repair.

The overall project explores ‘repair’ from multiple perspectives: this first part takes a cultural perspective where the practice has not (yet) been lost or forgotten. The second part explores from a European ecosystem and capabilities perspective, with municipalities and community groups educating and re-teaching the public about repair and building new communities. Working with community groups such as Repair Café and the Restart Project provides access to the network of repairers, an opportunity to share ideas and information, and to help promote each other’s work. The third explores the slow rejuvenation of independent repairers.

The overall aim is to shed a light on those providing solutions, so we can make better use of what we have and build more sustainable approaches.

Impact - how this affects our planet

Impact  - how this affects our planet

Reparación - the never-ending life of Cuban things

Reparación - the never-ending life of Cuban things

Ghana - Making better use of 'used'

Ghana  - Making better use of 'used'

Reparación - La Lisa - car repair

Reparación - La Lisa - car repair

Rebuilding Capability - ReTuna, the reuse 'Mall'

Rebuilding Capability - ReTuna, the reuse 'Mall'

Kierrätyskeskus: a city-wide solution in Helsinki, Finland

Kierrätyskeskus: a city-wide solution in Helsinki, Finland

Rebuilding Capability - Restart Project and Repair Cafés

Rebuilding Capability - Restart Project and Repair Cafés

Rebuilding Capability - iFixit - helping the repairers of the world

Rebuilding Capability - iFixit - helping the repairers of the world

Rebuilding Capability - iRepairs

Rebuilding Capability - iRepairs

Rebuilding Capability - Recono.me London - building new business models for repair and reuse.

Rebuilding Capability - Recono.me London - building new business models for repair and reuse.

Maintaining Capability - Classic repairs - Armstrong Audio, Walthamstow

Maintaining Capability - Classic repairs - Armstrong Audio, Walthamstow

Imact_series

Imact_series