It’s time to regain the habit of repairing our stuff! We threw away over 48 million tonnes of gadgets in the world in 2012. The shoes, clothes and mobile phones we love can often give us years more service with a bit of repair care, saving us money and cutting down the environmental impact of manufacture. If we used every mobile phone sold this year for 1/3 longer, we would prevent carbon emissions equal to those of Singapore for a whole year.
Whilst professionals are on hand to help, it’s incredibly satisfying to try repairing things yourself if you have the time. Get inspiration from Jen Gale. For a whole year, her family bought nothing new and rapidly developed skills in mending everything from jeans to wash baskets and electronics. Read her blog My Make do and Mend Life.
Getting to grips with our stuff can be life-changing and liberating. But first up, we need more confidence. In the UK, a recent survey by Aviva showed that 21% are not confident changing a light bulb, while 43% are nervous about wiring a plug.
Try it yourself: there’s lots of help available online with guides, videos and spare parts: like Wrench for bike repairs; Love Your Clothes for clothing repairs; and Ifixit for electronics and almost everything. NB If you’re not sure about an electrical repair, be safe and get professional advice.
Get some help: Sometimes you just need a person to help and give you the confidence to repair. Fortunately there is a whole new wave of community repair groups starting up across the world. Check to see if there is a local Repair Café or Restart Party near you. They’re free and volunteer “fix-perts” will show you how to repair your broken stuff.