What we are throwing away

Our e-stuff is a goldmine. Recently the United Nations University and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) estimated that electronic waste now contains precious metal “deposits” 40 to 50 times richer than ores mined from the ground. Annually $16 billion in gold is built into our electronics and at least 85% is not recovered – lost forever.

WRAP estimates that in the UK, between now and 2020, 3 million tonnes of IT equipment, consumer electronics and display screens will be disposed.

This is roughly the weight of 30,000 Routemaster buses EACH YEAR.

According to WRAP, at least 25% of this waste could be reused.

But statistics are often abstractions. What actually happens on the ground? What does this look like? We visited Camden’s waste disposal and recycling site at Regis Road earlier this month.

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This Saturday: Repairer meet-up

After running our first four events, we’d like to concentrate on those fearless people who make Restart Parties possible: our very much appreciated Repairers.

This is why we’re organising an informal gathering for Repairers this coming Saturday, August 25th, 3-5pm at the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre.

We’ll be in the SE corner (closest to the Hayward Gallery – see this map), just look for a Restart sign with our logo.

We know the need is there: every time we run an event, more and more people come, bringing their e-gadgets to be looked at. We would like to expand our support to communities in London, but in order to do this we need to find more repairers willing to get involved. Continue reading

#Firstworldproblems

This project originated from discussions at the ICT4D meetup in London. ICT for “D” (d meaning development) is a term that started gaining momentum in recent decades, although people have been using communications technology for development since the advent of smoke signals.

Ugo and I have both worked extensively in places where communications technology can make a massive difference – where simple mobiles can often literally save lives in everyday situations. And we’ve seen that people’s relationship with gadgets and technology is completely different in most of the places we worked. I often give this example, but even a simple ballpoint pen would have never been discarded in the provincial Mozambican office I spent time in.

What was troubling us more and more was not actually the “underdeveloped” places we worked in, but in fact the attitudes and behaviours of people here back in our northern homes.

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Announcing our first grant

We’re thrilled to announce our first grant and a real vote of confidence from Project Dirt and Timberland UK. Their “Earthkeepers” grant scheme is really excellent for green initiatives that have just started to bud, like ours. This small grant is just the boost we need for more and better repair, and for us to start planning how to bring the other parts of our ambitious vision to life.

(And as slow foodies ourselves, always with one hand in the dirt, we are happy to be in the company of so many food-related projects.)

 

#Restart3: Library as repairspace

We are delighted to announce that our third Restart Party will be at Belsize Community Library (3 Antrim Road, NW3 4XN). Save the evening of Wednesday, July 11 for community repair. We’ll be there from 6-9pm, helping people fix their stuff. (Please let us know you are coming!)

There has been a great deal written about future libraries as makerspaces or hackspaces, but we feel the library can be a place for skillsharing and helping to nurture new, collaborative economies. Continue reading

Our first Restart Party – repairing and learning

Thanks to everybody who attended our first Restart Party repair event in north London on Saturday – you made it a real success.

We had an excellent turnout – more than 30 people came by, from many generations, and the space was buzzing the full four hours. We had 4 humble repair heroes offering their skills in computer and electronics repair – sometimes this meant we could not help everybody immediately, but people were quite happy to meet each other, have a brownie and a coffee and talk about their electronics, green and local issues.

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