At Home Reuse

The repair revival: new old-fashioned values

08 OCT 20 | 4 minute read

Repair is becoming a more essential element of our lives as we look to ways that we can all live more sustainably. 

Four-fifths of the carbon footprint generated by Scotland comes from the products and materials we use. If we continue at the rate we are going, producing and buying new instead of repairing things that already exist, then the problem will keep on escalating.  

International repair day 17 October 2020

International Repair Day 2020

The theme of this year’s International Repair Day is ‘repair is essential’ and celebrates the efforts of repair communities, individuals and businesses making repair possible when we need it most. A sentiment that feels even more poignant in the time of Coronavirus and lockdowns.  

It’s also been a time that’s brought communities together, got us meeting our neighbours, exploring our local areas by two feet or two wheels and choosing staycations over exotic destinations. And, let’s face it, we all know two or three people who’ve attempted a sourdough loaf over the past few months with varying degrees of success.  

These pastimes may be new to many of us but you have to admit that they have the familiar feel of days gone by. A time before planned obsolescence, fast fashion and throwaway culture became the norm. This is where the repair revival comes in.  

The theme of this year’s International #RepairDay is ‘repair is essential’ and celebrates the efforts of repair communities, individuals and businesses making repair possible when we need it most. #RepairIsEssential

How can you get involved?

  1. Repair something you’ve had lying around. 

  2. Share a photo of your repair project on social media using #RepairDay and #RepairIsEssential. 

  3. Are you a dab hand at repairs? Pass on your knowledge by helping friends or family with a repair. 

  4. Support a local repair business. 

Putting repair into practice

We chatted with three members of the Zero Waste Scotland team to find out about their recent repair projects... 

Miriam: “We had an old oven and hob, it worked perfectly well but the lettering had worn off so you couldn’t see which dial turned on the grill, oven or changed the temperature.  

“My husband found an online company specialising in replacement stickers. We just needed to give then the make and model of the oven and they send you the stickers to put on and tell you where they go. 

“For the sake of a few stickers we’ve saved a whole oven from being thrown out.” 

Repairing the stickers on an oven hob

Amy: “A few years back I received a handbag as a birthday present. It went everywhere with me. Nights out (remember those?), dinner dates and even became my work handbag for a while. Looking back that’s probably where it went wrong.  

“Trying to pile everything in - including a reusable bottle filled with water - as if it was Mary Poppins’ magic carpet bag took its toll on the handles. Eventually, the strap became detached from the side of the bag and I made more holes in my finger than the fabric trying to sew it back together, it was just too thick.  

“It was about to be game over for the bag when my friend suggested that I try using Sugru mouldable glue. I’ll be honest I was skeptical at first but gave it a go, nonetheless.  

“To my surprise it worked a treat. I just pushed the putty-like glue into the hole that had been created and then pressed the handle into it. The repair is barely visible, and the bag is still going strong. The handle feels more secure than it did before the repair so I’m confident I’ll get many more years of enjoyment out of it now.” 

Michelle: “I like to start my day with a smoothie. Not a shop bought one full of sugar, but a nutritious yet delicious blend of fruit, fibre and often greens like spinach. I have a famous-brand blender that comes with a box of specialist attachments, but the jug is always on the counter ready for action.  

“That is until one day when it gave up the ghost. The handle cracked and I put up with it for a while like that, but then the base attachment was spinning when it really shouldn’t have been.  

“The motor was put in a cupboard and life went on. With lockdown comes new regimes, and I was missing my daily smoothie fix. Being a thrifty sort of individual my ‘go-to’ is to repair but in this case, I had to default to ‘replace’ and bought a new jug. A modest price tag of £22 was a pleasure and now my day is back to starting with a meal in a glass.” 

Repair resources

If you’ve been inspired to try out your own repair, there are plenty of resources online to help: