One product successfully repaired at a Repair Café can prevent up to 24 kilos of CO2 being emitted. That is one of the conclusions of research by Steve Privett, as part of a master’s degree at the University of Surrey (UK).
Privett, who is connected to Farnham Repair Café, examined data of almost 3000 repairs carried out at 13 Repair Cafés in the UK. He looked at all kinds of aspects regarding the products and their repair: the weight of the item, the distance that visitors travelled to have it repaired, the period of time that the product could be used again after the repair…
If his findings are correct, it would mean that all Repair Cafés in the world (currently 1689) together can possibly save over 709.000 kilos of CO2 every month*. This equates to a saving of over 8.500.000 kilos of CO2 per year. Given the estimation** that an average person in the western world causes 10.000 kilos of CO2 to be emitted every year, this means that the Repair Café movement at this moment can prevent the yearly CO2 emissions of up to 850 people.
The researcher stresses that his findings are indicative and intended to give a general picture of how Repair Cafés impact CO2 emissions. “My hope is that this research helps to stimulate further debate and action towards a more sustainable future”, he says.
Lacking skills are barrier to repair
In his research, Privett also draws other conclusions. For instance, that a significant barrier to repair is the lacking of repair skills with the general public, rather than actual unrepairability of products. He argues that ordinary people lack the skills to diagnose and rectify faults in household products and, as a result, tend to throw them away, whereas the high success rates in Repair Cafés indicate that many faults can be rectified.
Want to know more about Steve Privett’s research? Read the summary.
* Based on the assumption that every Repair Café group has one meeting per month, at which 25 repairs are carried out, of which 70 percent is successful.
** By the Dutch environmental agency MilieuCentraal.