The project helping to heal broken gadgets and empower people to repair

News   •   Jun 25, 2013 00:56 BST

Ambitious project prepares people for a ‘future economy of repair’ by helping them fix and reuse things instead of ditching them in the bin.

A project which hopes to foster positive behaviour change by encouraging and empowering people to use their electronics for longer has just celebrated its first birthday. The Restart Project has so far held 27 ‘restart parties’ and recruited 58 volunteers to help people get their broken gadgets back into working order.

 “The time has come to move beyond the culture of incessant electronics upgrades and defeatism in the face of technical problems” said co-founder Ugo Vallauri.

“We are facing slow-burn ecological and financial crises, and more immediately, we are witnessing the decline of our high streets. We are preparing the ground for a future economy of maintenance and repair by reskilling communities, supporting repair entrepreneurs, and helping people of all walks of life to be more resilient.”

The Restart Project is a registered charity which has survived so far on small grants, but Mr Vallauri and co-founder Janet Gunter hope it will soon be self-sustaining.

The project has already avoided an estimated 393 kg of waste – equivalent in weight to a polar bear.

People bring along their kettles, coffee grinders or laptops which have stopped working, and experienced volunteers open them up to try to see what has gone awry. Often the solution is as simple as a mechanism having slipped out of place, or a faulty part which can easily be replaced, and this saves the owner money as well as not having to contribute to the landfill crisis.

The feeling of having fixed something rather than thrown it away, encourages people not to be so hasty next time a gadget breaks down, says Mr Vallauri.

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