Yearly Archives: 2022

Exhibition: Islington Climate centre

unbroken.solutions exhibition opened in the Islington Climate Centre, in Angel Central, London in November 2022. The exhibition covers the impact of our e-waste and a range of solutions that can be adopted or adapted.

As part of the opening events a panel discussion was held with Fiona Dear (co-director of the Restart Project and Dermot Jones (from the charity Possible and project leader of the Camden Fixing Factory).

There is a wrote up for the panel discussions here.

The Islington Climate Centre are holding a number of sustainability and repair related events whilst the exhibition is installed. If you are interested in visiting, check out their website for dates and times.

The exhibition will be installed until 17 December 2022. The plan is to tour the exhibition to other locations in the UK during 2023. If interested please contact via the contact form.

Want a quick perspective on the problem? Try this video clip from UN Environmental Program.

Second ‘Fixing Factory’ in London

The second Fixing Factory was opened by the mayor in Camden.

The Restart Project in partnership with climate charity PossibleReady Tech GoWest London Waste Authority, and Mer IT, and with National Lottery Community Funding is creating new ‘Fixing Factories’ in London.  For more information see the dedicated Fixing Factory website.

Camden Fixing Factory was officially opened after Camden Mayor, Nasim Ali, cut the ribbon. There were also a number of other local politicians plus representatives from a number of local stakeholders and community groups. In addiction to the opening of the Queen’s Crescent Fixing Factory, the local community was also invited to take part in some hands-on fixing.

The final touches to the signage at Camden Fixing Factory

The aim is for these to become a ‘blueprint’ for Fixing Factories around the country, emulating the success of Kierrätyskeskus in Finland.

At the launch event there were demonstrations from Mer-IT of how to open your laptop, change hard drives, memory cards and batteries.

Mer-IT explaining the insides of a laptop and how to upgrade parts, extending its life.

Volunteers at opening event

Whilst the main goal is to make electronics last longer, to prevent unnecessary e-waste and the huge amount of carbon emissions involved in the production and transport of new devices, such facilities also provide wider community benefits – they help increase high street activity, create local community events, training and potential job opportunities, improve local environmental performance and help with the cost of living crisis.

Sian Berry AM (London Assembly Member – Greens) and Dermot Jones (Camden Fixing Factory in conversation

you can hear more about the Camden and Brent Fixing Factories are the Restarters Podcast.

FixFest 2022

International FixFest was held in Brussels from 30 September to 2 October 2022. Delegates from around the world met in on-line and in person at Les Ateliers des Tanneurs to strengthen the community repair movement, share best practice and articulate demands for more repairable products.

It was organised by The Restart Project, in close collaboration with Belgian partners Repair Together and Repair & Share. I photographed the events throughout the weekend, including the protest outside Apple.

To find out more about FixFest 2022, see their Press Release

Preparing to protest outside Apple, Brussels

Nathan Proctor, US PIRG explaining the importance of repair, and why its needed

Panel discussion with delegates from Uganda, Argentina, Scotland and India

A manual of how to run Repair Cafes in schools (Germany)

Hands on – Team Repair session, developed by students from Imperial College, London

A mobile repair cafe, hosted an event for the public. Matthew repairing an iron.

The future is Fixing Factories or Share and Repair centres to build local capability

Further Photographs, images and captions are here

Ethical Photography Festival

Recovered copper and metals after ‘burning’ electronics

The Festival of Ethical Photography was born in 2010 from an idea of the nonprofit organization Gruppo Fotografico Progetto Immagine, based in Lodi, Italy, with the intention of focusing on ethical content of great relevance, bringing the general public closer to social issues.

With the Restart Project we entered unbroken.solutions : Repair is Essential in the NGO Open Call and have been shortlisted for NONPROFIT WORLD 2022. The shortlist of twelve projects features many amazing projects by photographers working for some great non-profits doing essential work.

This Festival is an opportunity to showcase those projects alongside wider ethical photography and, this year, World Press Photo. The annual World Press Photo is the world’s most prestigious international contest for photojournalism

From our perspective this is a great opportunity to showcase the importance of repair in a more sustainable world. We have the tools, we have many solutions, we just need to act.

The one-month long Festival takes place in Lodi, Italy from 24 September to 23 October.

Every town needs one of these …

Mark Phillips News, Opinion August 16, 2022 1 Comment

Bath Share and Repair

Whilst typical Repair Cafés make a major contribution and help many people, their low frequency can create barriers. The lack of a permanent location can also present challenges storing tools, materials and spare parts. The logical solution would be to have community repair operating several days a week in an established location. One that is also able to run repair events and provide more extensive repair services or share tools via a Library of Things.

Bath Share and Repair opened the doors to the Share and Repair Shop in the centre of Bath. The first location was on Broad Street and had an incredible response, raising awareness of sharing and repairing in Bath.  In August 2021 they moved to  3 York Buildings, George Street, which is now the new home for the Bath Library of Things and a place to run even bookable repair sessions.

Given all the empty shops in our high streets, this is an opportunity to create something that supports and builds the community. In doing so it also helps rescue waste and address some of the cost of living challenges. It is a win-win-win-win … so why are local councils and town centres not encouraging this??

Culture of Repair

Throughout this project, I have endeavoured to identify some of the key issues and potential solutions to address our waste. In discussions with many people, even those reasonably aware of environmental issues, there is a lack of knowledge about the real impact of our consumption and what we can all do about it. That is why unbroken.solutions focusses on solutions that others can adopt or adapt to suit their needs.

But ultimately, we need to create, or re-create, a culture of repair. One where design takes account of the need to rebuild, to reuse and to recycle, so waste is minimised. One where repair and its value is understood. One where repair resources are readily available and accessible. One where to repair, is to care.

So, it was great to connect with Vita at the Culture of Repair. Based in the Bay Area, California, their mission is simply: That Repair be an actionable and pervasive cultural value.

They focus on bringing repair to the classroom, to educate the next generation. Their efforts are currently looking to integrate Repair into maker programs in schools and educational non-profits, supporting community repair events, advocating for repair at the state and local levels, and, as always, promoting repair as a social value. 

The Culture of Repair Project works exclusively in The East Bay and is currently concentrating on initiatives in Oakland and Berkeley, CA. However, their site contains lots of ideas and resources, for educators, for repair groups and for the general public, everywhere.

For those interested check the link here: Resources and Worldwide Initiatives.

Resource lists are provided to help people new to thinking about Repair begin to find material meaningful to their lines of inquiry. The more we learn the more we can make an impact.

Report for Microsoft confirms the benefits of Repair

An independent report, commissioned by Microsoft confirms that repairing devices reduces waste and climate emissions.

The study compared replacement versus factory or authorised repair for different Microsoft products. The product included Surface Pros, Surface Book and Laptop Studio.

The study found that, compared to device replacement, all forms of repair offer significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emission and waste reduction benefits. (For the devices studied, repairing can yield up to a 92% reduction in potential waste and emissions.)

It also found that design has significant potential to reduce carbon and waste impacts. Design for repair helps repair and reduces harmful impacts.

Finally, it highlighted that transportation logistics can play in contributing to overall GHG emissions associated with repair services. “To further reduce waste and GHG emissions, Microsoft is advised to take steps to expand repair locations and capabilities across more devices and to promote mail-to repair services“. 

Manufacturers need to do more to enable repair.

First ‘Fixing Factory’ in London

Fixing Factory opens in Abbey Road, Brent

The Restart Project in partnership with climate charity PossibleReady Tech GoWest London Waste Authority, and Mer IT, and with National Lottery Community Funding is creating new ‘Fixing Factories’ in London.  For more information see the dedicated Fixing Factory website.

The first opened in the Abbey Road Reuse and Recycling Centre, Brent, on Saturday 23rd April. The Brent Fixing Factory will be hosted by the West London Waste Authority. Led by project partner Ready Tech Go, it will focus on repairing donated laptops and tablets and passing them on to people without digital access. People will be able to donate devices, see the repairs and find out about the project. Those keen to learn about repair will also have a chance to volunteer on the site and get work experience. 

Discussing repairs at the new Fixing Factory, Brent

The second Fixing Factory opens in Camden. later in the summer. The aim is for these to become a ‘blueprint’ for Fixing Factories around the country, emulating the success of Kierrätyskeskus in Finland.

Demonstration repairs at opening event in Brent

In conjunction with the launch, an event was hosted at nearby Alperton School giving pupils the opportunity to understand the importance of maintaining and repair their devices. They had practical hands on experience disassembling and reassembling mobile phones, and learning about the materials in the source of components. Pupils will also have an opportunity to get work experience at the new Fixing Factory.

Pupils at Alperton School learn about repair of mobile devices.

Whilst the main goal is to make electronics last longer, to prevent unnecessary e-waste and the huge amount of carbon emissions involved in the production and transport of new devices, such facilities also provide wider community benefits – for students, for employment and to enable digital access.

April 22, Earth Day

Copper mine superimposed on London

Today is Earth Day. But it is not just one day.

Our desire electronic for electronics is literally eating the earth. The weight of material extracted and processed is often hundreds of times greater than the finished product. Much of it ends up as toxic waste, further damaging the planet.

Zeke Magazine Spring Issue features stories on environmental issues from around the world, including ‘Unbroken:Repair is Essential”.

For Earth Day 2022, we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.

We can all do something positive, keep our devices for longer, or get them repaired, or give them a second life through reuse, or simply donate them to charities to provide to others. Just keeping your device for one more year can have a significant positive impact.

Today is Earth Day. But it is not just one day. It is a day to change, for the good.

Getting in to your device, to repair it

Breaking into some devices often requires specialist tools

Sometimes, when you want to repair something, it almost falls apart, and sometimes it is impossible to open it without destroying it. … And once you have it all apart, it can be quite tricky to reassemble everything because you forgot how everything fits together.” This short article by Stefan in Medium explains How to take things apart without breaking it too much. There are some useful tips in this article.

Understanding how to get into your device is often the first step to repair. You might simply need to clean it or or change the battery or replace a component.

For more information on ‘teardowns’ check out the iFixit website. And for those interested, a list of all the different types of screw drives used by manufacturers … (there are a lot): screw drives

If you are interested in repair, a useful way to learn (without destroying your precious devices) is to practice on old devices that are deemed beyond economic repair. Most repair technicians and students learn this way. Taking things apart and then (trying) to put them back together. Those skills once learned are with you forever, so do not look upon it as wasted time.

For more information and help about repair, check out the Resources page, with links to self-repair, community repair and more.