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Postcard from the future: waste – repair and re-use

Following changes in Right to Repair legislation, repair details and component information becomes freely available to all as mandatory.  Increased lobbying means that more household items are developed to last longer using fewer resources.  Electric and electronic items have improved reparability and updates become a standard feature.  Many people turn to Fairphones as their regular mobile phone model, for instance.

In response to this, Chesterfield sees the opening of repair shops, many using the popular co-operative or Community Interest Company (CIC) business models.  Repair Cafés are still being run by volunteers where people can go to get access to tools and assistance with repair problems.  Residents make fuller use of Freecycle sites for items they no longer need.  In addition, a CIC is set up with assistance from the local college, offering apprenticeships in repair.  The local council offers a large unused building where household items that are no longer needed can be stored once repaired and re-sold at reduced cost.  Items are advertised online and can also be collected at the revitalised market in the town centre.  ‘Men in Sheds’, where people can work on projects with donated wood to build useful household items, is partly turned into a co-operative and starts selling their creations. A further CIC is set up for a Tool Library where people can take out membership and borrow household tools for their DIY projects.  Tools are mostly obtained through donations and from an initial start-up grant.

Meanwhile, clothes’ shopping has become a different experience.  Fashion has become more eco-conscious and trends become more stable.  People are more aware of the impact of clothing and fabric production on the environment and become interested in upcycling and repair.  With fewer large clothing retail stores around, more local shops open offering hiring, swap services, made-to-measure and repair facilities.  Following the introduction of an annual rag market in 2021, a co-operative is formed where sessions on mending, care and upcycling are available.  People enjoy swapping ideas and sharing skills as part of their social activities.  Young people are encouraged to model ‘new’ creations for display on social media.  Schools now offer clubs for mending and repair.

People enjoy the fun of creating something different using available resources.  Items going to landfill are reduced and time spent working on possessions is appreciated rather than the number owned.