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Celebrating International Repair Day – repair lowers carbon emissions

We’re celebrating the fifth edition of International Repair Day with a number of activities in the lead up here in London and online.

With COP26 coming up next month, there is no better time for us to concentrate on how our work as a repair community is vital in the ongoing fight against climate change. In light of this, the theme for this Repair Day 2021 is: repair lowers carbon emissions

This year’s theme: repair lowers carbon emissions

One of the key contributors to carbon emissions is manufacturing – and that includes electronics. From mining resources to processing materials to shipping products, much of the carbon impact of our devices occurs before they are even turned on. 

We recently found that for your average smartphone, 79% of its CO2e impact occurs before it is used by the consumer. For a product like a blender, it’s around 84%. This starkly puts into perspective the impact that buying new has, instead of repairing or buying second-hand.

We estimate our volunteers have prevented 432 tonnes of carbon emissions fixing devices at over 2,000 community events. When you repair a broken item, you no longer have to buy a new one, avoiding new emissions.

Scaling this reduction in consumer emissions globally would have a massive impact on our planet. The European Environmental Bureau found in 2019 that “extending the lifetime of the EU’s stock of smartphones, notebooks, washing machines and vacuum cleaners by five years would save almost 10m tonnes of emissions (CO2eq) annually by 2030… And even just a one-year extension would result in 4m tonnes of emissions savings annually, equivalent to 2m cars off the roads.

Sign our petition for the Right to Repair

We can’t do this though without a thriving professional repair economy, our incredible repair community, and the Right to Repair. If you live in the UK, please sign and share our petition for the real Right to Repair. We’d like to double or triple the number of signatures.

While we are not able to host a large fixing event this year, we’re not at all idle here at Restart.

Join us in person or online

We’re hosting these events in London, but please check the official International Repair Day listings for events near you.

8th October 12pm online: preceding Repair Day, we are co-hosting a lunch-time webinar together with the European Right to Repair Campaign. It’s called “Repair Lowers Carbon Emissions: exploring the impact of consumption emissions”. We’re thrilled to have special guest Professor John Barrett from the University of Leeds. Barrett worked with the Climate Assembly and he’s an accessible expert on the topic. Please book a ticket, as we have limited space.

11th October at UCL: We’re excited to repair with UCL students at The Institute of Making. Join the waiting list if you are a UCL student.

14th October offline and online: We’re speaking at the Royal Academy of Engineers at an internal roundtable event on the Right to Repair.  Later at 5pm the public is invited to attend “Right to repair: how can we end built-in obsolescence?” with Mark Miodownik – we won’t be there but will be attending live online. You can too but you need to book via Linked In.

14th October on ITV, 7:30pm: This ‘Tonight’ documentary is about the Right to Repair. We have no idea what it’ll be like but fingers crossed it’ll raise awareness about overconsumption, repair and the real Right to Repair in hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK.

16th October, 4-6pm in West London: On Repair Day proper, all are invited to join our community social. We’re visiting Mark Phillips’ photography exhibition “Repair is Essential” together at The Tabernacle in West London. Mark contributes photography to The Restart Project, as a part of his global interest in repair. Don’t miss this exhibition, it’s on until 17th October!

Repair is Essential - image copyright Mark Phillips

Launching the Community Repair Network

Additionally, we’re celebrating the launch of the Community Repair Network here in the UK.

This emerging network started as a series of conversations between various repair groups and regional networks over the last year. We realised it’s not always easy for these groups to be in touch across the country, but given the chance to connect, together we may be able to raise the profile of repair, share and learn from each other, support local efforts and scale our impact.

And so, along with friends and partners in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we are thrilled to be working to strengthen and support grassroots repair in every community. Visit the network’s new website for more information.


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