Scarcity rare earths

Worn thin: the limits of a “logic of innovation”

People overwhelmingly value battery life over “thin”. Numerous studies have backed the idea that people want battery life more than any other “innovation”. So why do manufacturers seem to sideline this straight-forward desire in favour of “thin”?

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The footprint of those iPhones

The estimated manufacturing footprint of 80 million iPhone 6 projected to be sold (6,460 kilotonnes) will be greater than the total annual carbon footprint of the London boroughs of Westminster, Lambeth and Camden – of over 770,000 people and all of the business activity in three central areas of one of the world’s richest cities.

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Tiny houses, decluttering and late consumerist disorders

The “declutter” and “tiny house” trends are a sort of consumerist purging. And they run the risk of becoming transformed from ways of thinking to passive services and a pret-a-ocuper products. It is comparatively easy to throw or give away. It is harder to change our relationship with stuff over the long term.

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The UK adopts the single-most noxious event in American consumer culture

At a time when we hear incessant attacks on immigration, we see this country handing itself over to the single-most destructive, noxious event in American consumer culture: “Black Friday”

Photo by Friends of the Earth Hackney

Why we care about measurement – introducing our Fixometer concept

People love to get their gadgets fixed. There is absolutely no doubt about it. For now, we can measure this in smiles, stories, and all of the positive feedback we get in person and online. But what we would like to more clearly demonstrate the environmental benefits to repairing. We also want to show, as […]

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Open data for a truly circular economy

We talked at the Nesta Hot Topics session on how “open data” can help us use things for longer, and have a better idea of how they are recycled at end of life. Open data means what it says on the tin. Data sets are that accessible, useable and made available to the general public. […]

sustainable design

Sustainable design: focus on gadget longevity

We spoke at the Indie Tech Summit in July. There was a great deal of discussion about the broken business models for apps and online services, which are essentially based on corporate surveillance. The user gets a free product in exchange for selling his or her data. And very few users understand what they are […]

Polar Bear Mother and Cubs on Sea Ice

Designing for more visible waste prevention

You may recall, a year ago, we celebrated a “polar bear” worth of electronic waste prevented by our participants and volunteers. Now we’re headed towards a ton of electronic waste, which would be more like a whole polar bear family! To celebrate, and to up our game, we are creating an easy-to-use online tool to […]

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Exploring our e-waste: opening gadgets and learning about disposal

We went to the Open Knowledge Festival in Berlin this month to run what we called an “E-waste Exploration“. More than anything, we wanted to test the idea of running future events, like hackathons. And we were more than convinced to do that! Get in touch if you would like to be involved in future explorations […]