To calculate the carbon footprint of electronics we needed to categorise the devices, then for each category to find data on the average weight, data on how repaired devices displace new devices (which is where the environmental benefit comes in) and of course data on the carbon footprint to manufacture each type of electrical device.
To find this type of information we worked with a team of volunteers from our community, searching the internet for ‘lifecycle assessment’ data on the kinds of products we see at events. We found data for about 500 typical products. You can learn more about this here.
Our next task was to find a way to calculate carbon emissions savings through repairs at Restart Parties, effectively through extending the lifecycle of devices. Our model assumes that the extension of an existing device’s life will prevent carbon emissions in manufacture of a new gadget.
Displacement rate: the rate by which we prevent a new manufacture. Our biggest – and most necessary – assumption is that a fix at a Restart Party displaces a new manufacture by 50%. That is, that a repaired device will live on for an extra 50% more than its intended life.
Our figures are as accurate as currently possible due to the lack of data available to the public on the effectiveness of repairs or consumer behaviours after repair. We believe this is a very worthy area for further research.