Some big news in the heart of the tech industry – California Governor, Gavin Newsom recently signed the Right to Repair Act into law, making California the fifth US state to pass legislation on the topic.
What does this mean for consumers?
1 – Consumers and independent repair shops will now have access to the tools, parts and information they need to fix electronics and appliances.
2 – By fixing the things we own, we can keep our electronics and other gadgets in use for longer and out of the waste stream.
3 – By keeping the electronics and appliances for longer, less resource is consumed and less waste is created making therm
Oh, and it is estimated that, by using their stuff for longer, Californians can save an estimated $5 billion each year while avoiding hundreds of thousands of tons of e-waste.
Good to see the new Suez guidance published. Written by Dr Jane Beasley and Sarahjane Widdowson on behalf of Suez, it provides practical advice and support for local authorities to improve waste performance and move towards a more sustainable, circular approach.
It not only considers things for them to directly invest in (and how to build their business case), but also things that they can influence (for others to do) or simply to signpost (that already exist).
It is here and also free to download from Suez publications. They are also happy to receive suggestions and more useful links etc.
‘Recycling is not sufficient’
Importantly, it addresses, the need to move the focus from the old dominant and simplistic ‘recycle’ mantra, to a more reuse-repair focus. Even a cursory view of the hierarchy of options for our things (stuff) shows that recycling is one of the least attractive and impactful approaches. We can do better.
The top on the 9R hierarchy is best. So, after questioning the need for the item (refuse or rethink) and how much (reduce), the next best options are to reuse, repair, refurbish, remanufacture or repurpose, only then should recycling be considered. Yet today, almost everywhere you look the message is ‘let’s recycle’. We need to move on and do better and do it faster.
Case studies, examples and links to resources
The report’s reference section (from page 40) includes over 80 case studies and links to resources (including unbroken.solutions/resources) to help point councils towards existing solutions and ideas. The ideas in the report are wholly consistent with the aim behind the photobook and zine campaign, act now. To encourage our councils and local authorities to do more to support reuse and repair.
Whilst councils have significant budget constraints, there are grants available and many councils are sitting on vacant property that could be repurposed at minimal cost for use by community groups. As a minimum they can help better signpost existing repair capabilities and community resources.
The All Day Event was Organised by Emma Erwin, Share and Repair Coordinator for Circular Communities Scotland. It provided an opportunity to network and meet colleagues. Several breakout sessions were held to share good practice and to workshop ideas to improve impact and reduce waste.
Participants ranged from repair cafes, library of things and tool libraries, and Mens’ sheds. Even though Scotland provides some central government funding for both repair and libraries of things (and reuse centres), through the Share & Repair Network. Although the challenges of building a sustainable network and solutions remain. There is no one simple solution. Instead a range of solutions including- pop-up repair cafes, mobile repair and libraries, permanent facilities and the like were discussed and ideas to improve engagement and participation considered.
As part of the event, a pop-up exhibition of images from unbroken.solutions were provided to highlight the impact of our things and some potential solutions to our growing waste problems.
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.