That ‘is a wrap’. In total, 258 books and zines posted to councils, local authorities and devolved government departments. Copies are also going to contributors and collaborators.
As previously indicated, the aim has been to do this and keep the overall footprint and impact small. All parcels hand delivered to my local Post Office.
The plan is to distribute a large number of the act nowzines at FixFest 2023, in Cardiff, in September. Fixfest is a regular global gathering of repairers and tinkerers, activists, policy-makers, thinkers, educators and companies from all over the world. Many community repairers will be present. They will get a free copy of the zine and the option to take copies for local distribution via their repair events.
The campaign tracks the distribution, receipt, email sent and follow up. Information on capabilities and support provided by councils and local authorities will also be captured.
This supports identifying good practices and hopefully pointing to more solutions and case studies.
Regular campaign updates will be provided. Later, copies of the worksheet / database will be made more widely available.
As part of this project around 260 copies of unbroken.solutions photobook will be sent to councils and local authorities in the UK. The ask is a simple one – do more to support repair and reuse in your community.
As part of the campaign, zines have also been produced to distribute to the public, via the community repair network and local repair groups, to encourage the public to engage their councils to ask for more support.
Deciding to run a photobook and zine based campaign clearly comes with an environmental impact. But throughout the process we have been thoughtful and aimed to minimise waste and resources.
The book was designed with Struktur Design to minimise waste and simplify production. The books are A4 size (to minimise paper waste) and use a mix of sustainably sourced and recycled materials. The ‘cloth’ cover uses Wibalin textured and recycled paper. The papers are all CarbonNeutral and FSC sourced. It was printed digitally, as the run size meant offset lith printing would create too much waste (it might all be recycled but it still creates waste and uses energy).
The printers, Pureprint, were selected from criteria to assess their eco-credentials as well as price. They have had ISO14001 (Environmental Management) and EMAS since the 1990s, were the world’s first CarbonNeutral printer. Working with Richard at Pureprint, we aimed to minimise impact in materials, production and use of local suppliers and finishers.
The act now zines were offset printed at YouLovePrint, also part of the PurePrint Group and working to the same environmental management standards.
The books and zines are all sent out using sustainable packaging materials from Priory Direct, BCorp and CarbonNeutral company, offering packaging made from recycled (and recyclable) materials that are sustainably sourced. No bubblewrap, no plastic.
To ship the books and zines, they were hand walked to my local Post Office. Later this year many of the zines will be distributed by and to community repair groups at the upcoming FixFest 2023, again minimising the shipping footprint.
It’s not perfect, but with a little effort you can reduce the impact of your activities. If you want more information on sustainable photobook publishing, check out the resources at SPPNetwork.
In the UK, councils and local authorities provide our best opportunity to make a meaningful improvements in repair and reuse capability; at least until we have a proper ‘right to repair’.
unbroken.solutions is starting a campaign to encourage greater support, by using a combination of exhibitions and a photobook and ‘zines’ to engage local councils and the public.
Some councils have already helped provide some funding, or access to facilities, or signposted community repair as an option. Examples such as Share and Repair in Bath, Re:Make Newport and the Fixing Factory in Camden show that community repair can be on the high street. This makes it more visible and available to many more people. But we can do much more.
The first part of the campaign is to distribute a photo book to 260 major councils and waste authorities in the UK. The photo book documents the impact and many solutions from across the world.
The ask is simple: to do more to support repair and reuse. The act now page on this site provides additional links to resources to support this.
In combination with the unbroken.solutions photobook an act now ‘zine’ has been produced to distribute via the community repair network, to the public, asking them to request more local solutions and capability.
Both the book and the zine have been produced in the UK to reduce environmental impact, using printers with strong eco-credentials and an ISO14001 environmental management system, designed to minimise manufacturing waste and using Carbon Neutral and FSC chain of custody sources of paper and card.
The campaign will distribute both the books and the zines over the next few months and encourage councils and the public to provide examples of action.
This year, 2023, marks the 10th anniversary of the Restart Project and Hackney Fixers. It is also the 20th anniversary of iFixit. Groups that have been battling for decades (literally) to give us all a right to repair and the capability to do it.
In 2003, Kyle Wiens and Luke Soules found themselves with a broken iBook G3. Their attempts to repair it led to what is now iFixit. iFixit was actually born PB FixIt after the preeminent Mac notebook of the day: PowerBook. Today iFixit offer online repairs guides for lots of different products. They offer spares and the all important tool kits. A special mention goes out to their security drivers allowing you to access product that manufacturers make difficult to open!! In October 2013, iFixit Europe was born with Stuttgart in Germany as a central European location, which I visited in October 2019.
Since 2015, they’ve worked to support Right to Repair laws, with partners like USPIRG and partners in Europe from the Right to Repair Europe movement.
Restart Project and Hackney Fixers
The Restart Project started in 2013. Although based in London their reach is much wider with Restart groups and parties across the UK, in Europe and further afield. They collaborate with other groups, particularly in Europe to advocate for our Right to Repair.
The Hackney Fixers, promote electrical and electronic repair in Hackney as an alternative to growing mountains of waste and consumption and work closely with the Restart Project. Like many communities repair groups they hold local events to help people repair their things. Many of the original founders are still volunteering.
All of these groups are battling against waste by making better use of things. They support communities with real solutions. Solutions that we need to adopt, adapt and accelerate. Keep supporting them!
Limited legislation has been passed to provide our Right to Repair, but there is still much more we can do. We can all take better care of our things. Make them last longer. We can learn to repair them, or find someone who can.
In the short term our local Council’s and Waste Authorities can help make a real difference. Some already do, but they can all do more.
They can also help with consumer awareness and education. They can help shift the culture from recycling (which is wasteful) to reuse and repair. Adding facilities to HWRCs (like the Fixing Factory in Brent). They can work in partnership with repair groups, charities and local independent repairers.
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.
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“.
Despite the recent claims made, most products are still made with deliberate ‘anti-repair’ designs.
Apart from the security screws and fixings, and glued in parts, there are other challenges. First, is access to affordable parts. Software and serialised components can cause the replacement part to not be recognised by the device and will not work. Or may have some features disabled.
Then there is the challenge of how comprehensive the self-repair program is. Apple’s repair program has only been launched, and only in the US. Samsung’s program is currently limited to a few models (Galaxy S20, S21 and Tab S7 devices).
There is a danger that such programs simply buy manufacturers more time. Then continue their current practices and defer the adoption of real right to repair. It is good news that manufacturers are, at last, collaborating with repair experts at iFixit. But advocates for repair are not yet out of a job.
So, whilst, the proposed moves are a step in the right direction, it’s a small step. Without continued pressure little real progress will be made.
As one of the Honorable Mentions in the 2022 ZEKE Award for Systemic Change – Unbroken – Repair is Essential. The project is published in Zeke and will be exhibited at PhotoVille, Brooklyn, NY in June.