What can we do to combat the throw-away culture?

Hundreds of people each month in South Australia visit one of more than a dozen repair cafés that have popped up around Adelaide and further afield. At these community events, people learn new skills, how to care for their items, or what to look out for when they’re replacing something that has had its day.

Each year, many thousands of kilos of clothing, household, garden, electrical goods, etc., are saved from ending up on the landfill heap or languishing at the back of a cupboard.
The repair café movement is gathering momentum as people realise that our throw-away mentality damages the environment and hurts their wallets. Apart from that, it’s a lot of fun and rewarding to give new life to a beloved toy, for example.

Behind the scenes, the repair movement is also looking at tackling the big issues that need government and business support and action. In France, for example, many items now have a Repairability Index similar to the Energy stars we have in Australia on white goods. The repairers at our cafes in South Australia have a mental blacklist of items they see all the time.

Sustainable Communities is connected to the Australian Repair Network, which speaks with industry, other sectors, and the community at large about the legislative and policy changes being developed to respond to the international right-to-repair movement.
Closer to home is a current research project, ‘Exploring the current state of repair in South Australia.’ It looks at barriers discouraging repair, opportunities, and areas where South Australian policy and programs could support the growth of the repair sector, and it identifies ways to support, grow, and build skills in the repair sector.

We’ll report on the outcomes in future newsletters.

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