More than 120 community repair events will be held around the world this weekend – from New Zealand to Argentina – to mark the second ever International Repair Day
It is billed as a celebration of the power of community repair to prevent waste and share skills: the second ever International Repair Day takes place on Saturday (20 October).
Organisers are calling for the ‘right to repair’ the items that we own at a time when, both in the US and across Europe, there are efforts to push for improved legislation for repair. Campaigners would like to see improved access to spare parts and information about repair, as well as better product design to ensure that things last longer and are easier to fix.
International Repair Day also celebrates the work of local repair shops and electrical companies that do provide repair information, spare parts and tools.
“Anyone can celebrate Repair Day anywhere, by taking something to be fixed to a local shop and sharing the repair online,” said Janet Gunter of UK-based The Restart Project. The project encourages people to learn how to repair their broken electronics, and to rethink how they consume them in the first place.
In London, people can mark Repair Day by getting help in repairing household items from volunteers at three community repair events. These are: an event for electronics and electrics from 11am-2pm at Kentish Town Community Centre, which is hosted by The Restart Project; an event for bikes, clothes and furniture to be held at St John’s church hall in Leytonstone, hosted by Waltham Forest Council and fashion reuse charity Traid, also from 11am-2pm; and an event at The Goodlife Centre in Bankside from 2pm-5pm, at which the focus will be on clothes, electricals and furniture.
Similar events in the UK are taking place in Andover, Edinburgh, Forest Row, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Reading and Tiverton.
Could community repair help us to get to grips with waste?
The UK is the second highest per capita producer of electronic waste in the world, with citizens generating 24.9kg of ‘e-waste’ per year, according to research by United Nations University. Repair helps reduce material waste and carbon emissions, nurtures transferable problem-solving skills, and saves money when it comes instead of buying new, say its proponents.
In response to this growing pile of waste, community repair events began springing up around the world. In October 2009, Repair Café Foundation founder Martine Postma held her first event in Amsterdam. In the same year, Californian Peter Mui started hosting ‘Fixit clinics’.
Anyone can celebrate Repair Day anywhere, by taking something to be fixed to a local shop and sharing the repair online
Since then, groups in more than 30 countries have started hosting Repair cafes, Fixit clinics, and other events inspired by these – Club de Reparadores, Réparothons, Restart Parties, and Fiksefest, to name a few.
Members of the Open Repair Alliance started International Repair Day in 2017. The alliance seeks to link repair activists around the world through sharing data about barriers and successes. It is an international group founded by the Germany-based Anstiftung Foundation, Fixit Clinic and iFixit in the US, The Restart Project in the UK and the Repair Café Foundation in the Netherlands.
In photos: UK repair enthusiasts getting their fix
Earlier this month, Fixfest UK took place in Manchester. It gathered 59 community repair activists from across the country
Featured image: Heather Agyepong
Gallery images: Mark Phillips