UK repair cafés to take part in nationwide Big Fix event

75 repair cafés around the country will be running simultaneous community events as part of the UK’s largest nationwide repair project this Saturday (15 February).  

A volunteer fixing an item at a repair café

Following the success of last year’s Big Fix, where 40 volunteers from across Devon repaired 268 items in one day, the project is now going nationwide, with 1,000 UK-wide volunteers repairing household items for a small donation.

Coordinated by Devon County Council, the Big Fix 2020 is aiming to repair over 2,000 items, from clothing to toys, saving 60 tonnes of CO2.

The event will encompass Repair cafés across the country, where residents will be able to get their items fixed, as well as learn how to fix them themselves.

Commenting on the project, Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Waste, said: “Repair cafés are wonderful places – they teach people to see their possessions in a new light and appreciate their value and show that by extending the life of an everyday object everyone can do their bit to reduce waste, limit consumption and to reduce carbon emissions.

“Repair cafés can help change people’s mindset which is essential to encourage people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. They have a lovely community atmosphere and can show just how much fun repairing things can be.”

Catherine Causley, the Big Fix 2020 Project Officer, added: “I wanted to promote the wonderful work that all repair cafés do and to try and spread the word about them.

“They are about so much more than keeping repairable items out of the bin, they are about building community, passing on skills and preventing social isolation. I’m delighted that more than half of the UK’s repair cafés are taking part and I hope that this inspires more people to make use and visit them.”

With global resource consumption hitting 100 billion tonnes of materials a year, repair will be crucial in the drive towards a circular economy, improving resource efficiency by keeping products in use for as long as possible.

The EU is set to introduce new rules for repair as part of its Ecodesign Directive, with legislation obligating manufacturers to make their products more repairable coming into force from April 2021. This legislation also states, however, that producers will have to make most spare parts and repair manuals available to repair professionals only – something that has been criticised for restricting access to community initiatives such as repair cafés.

The UK Government is also taking action to encourage repair, with the Resources and Waste Strategy stating that the government will match or exceed the EU’s Ecodesign system, and the Environment Bill promising resource efficiency regulations that will facilitate the repairing of items.

You can find more information about the Big Fix 2020 on the Recycle Devon website. 

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