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Dare to repair: the fightback against e-waste

  • by JW

… the fightback against planned obsolescence.


We are more and more appreciating how good it can be to repair stuff:

Right to repair is blossoming – Vision Group for Sidmouth

And now it’s becoming easier to do so with a change in regulations:

New ‘right to repair’ laws coming to the UK – Vision Group for Sidmouth

New ‘right to repair’ rules – Vision Group for Sidmouth


It’s still a struggle, however, as a new series on Radio 4 explores:


Dare to Repair: How We Broke the Future

Episode 1 of 3

We love our electronic gadgets, gizmos and appliances. But when it comes to repairing and caring for them, UK citizens are second only to Norway when it comes to producing electronic waste. We have a culture of buying single-use, throwaway, cheaper-the-better, irreparable electronic goods. But the Age of Consumerism is over. If the kettles, toasters, phones and fridges we buy aren’t made to be repairable, and aren’t repaired, we are going to run out of things to buy, stuff to make them from and money to buy them with.

Dare to Repair explores how we got to this unsustainable state, explores the fightback, whether it’s through global legislation or individual groups, and empowers listeners to prolong the life of their electronics and mechanical goods by fixing them.

Materials scientist Professor Mark Miodownik of UCL looks back to the start of the electronics revolution to find out why our electronic gadgets and household goods are less durable and harder to repair now. As he attempts to fix his digital clock radio, he reveals that the drive for cheaper stuff and advances in design and manufacturing have left us with a culture of throwaway technology and mountains of electronic waste.

Dare to Repair – How We Broke the Future – BBC Sounds


And, yes, e-waste is a particular problem:

Doing more to fix the e-waste problem – Vision Group for Sidmouth

The steadily growing problem of e-waste – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Reduce e-waste: extend the life of smartphones – Vision Group for Sidmouth


Finally, one of the core problems is ‘planned obsolescence’ – as explored in a BBC Two series:

Futures Forum: Planned Obsolescence: and The Men Who Made Us Spend


photo: Electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, Ghana