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Repairing Broken Gadgets to Combat the Climate Crisis

Repairing Broken Gadgets to Combat the Climate Crisis

How many broken gadgets did you replace in the January sales? Did you throw them away or are they still cluttering up your home? We all love shiny new items. However, think about all the valuable materials that have gone to landfill or are gathering dust. Desperate to combat the climate crisis, repair shops have sprung up and are busy repairing broken gadgets people have thrown away.

Introducing the Fixing Factory

Repair centres have started opening all across the UK. Their aim is to teach people the skills they need to fix their own broken items instead of throwing them away. One such centre is the Fixing Factory in Camden, North London, which opened in October.

Inside the repair shop, there are shelves of items waiting to be brought back to life. From broken toasters to lamps, laptops, and kettles, they all await some TLC.

Dermot Jones, the repair centre’s project manager, says teaching people to repair their broken items helps them do their bit to fight climate change.

"A lot of us are feeling pretty powerless in the face of the climate crisis. Throwaway consumerism and the escalating cost of living just compounds that powerlessness."

Tackling the Mountain of Electrical Waste By Repairing Broken Gadgets

According to the WEEE forum, 74 million tonnes of electrical waste per year will end up on landfill globally by 2030. Mobile phones are one of the items we commonly discard, with estimates saying we’ll throw away 5.3 billion phones this year alone. Whatever happened to things being made to last?

Cheaper Products Equals More Waste

A regular at the centre’s repair club, retired radio engineer Tony says cheaper and less well-made products are the cause of the mountain of waste. He points to the fact that things were once designed to last. However, cheaper and less well-made products have flooded markets and many only last a few years at best.

Busting the Myths Around Repairing Electricals

At the repair centre, the volunteers who work there provide some insights into why people don’t repair their broken items:

  • There’s a fear of fixing things they know nothing about. The centre says giving people training helps demystify the repair process.
  • People worry that trying to fix electricals is unsafe. At the repair centre, everything is PAT tested for safety before people take them away.
  • They believe that repairing broken gadgets is time-consuming and expensive. On Thursday afternoons, the Fixing Factory invites members of the public to bring along anything that needs fixing. If the team can repair it, they’ll do so, free of charge. Something the centre loves to do, according to project manager Dermot, are ‘cup of tea fixes.’ This is all about showing someone you can repair something in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea. Often the parts to fix it also cost less than a cup of tea.

Is Change Coming?

Many of the repair centre volunteers do what they do for sustainability reasons. Project manager Dermot believes that if we really are going to do something about climate change, manufacturing needs to change. One way they can do this, he says, is to work with projects like the Fixing Factory.

However, it appears that change is starting to come. Back in December, tech giant Apple rolled out a self-repair service to the UK and seven other European countries.

Now iPhone 12 and 13 users, and some MacBook owners, can fix their own gadgets by buying parts and tools and watching tutorials.

A New Industry?

For the Fixing Factory, the dream is that every town has a repair centre. Dermot says there’s a possibility that repairing broken gadgets could become a mini-industry in itself. Will there be a new generation of repair technicians who want to fix their items rather than throw them away?

At Recycling Bins, our high-quality products are built to last. Many are recyclable at the end of their life or are made from recyclable materials. You don’t have to worry about compromising your eco-friendly credentials when you buy from us. Looking for top-quality recycling receptacles to suit any environment and budget? Browse our online range. For more articles on recycling and sustainability, check out the rest of our blog.

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