Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Europe’s repair heroes in the spotlight

Meet the repair campaigners and practitioners across Europe who help others to save money while helping save the planet.

To counter the throwaway disposable culture, individuals and groups across Europe have been setting up and running repair hubs for years.

In parallel, the pan-European Right to Repair, of which the EEB is a part, campaign has been lobbying to have this right to repair enshrined in EU laws and regulations that boost the reparability of products and encourage better design for long-lasting items.

Right to Repair responds to growing public demand for greater reparability. according to Eurobarometer, 77% of Europeans would prefer to get broken appliances repaired rather than buying new ones.

Champions of repair

The Climate Of Change project, which seeks to enable young Europeans to become advocates for a better future, and the Right to Repair campaign teamed up to cast a spotlight on the everyday heroes of repair all over Europe.

Heroes of repair are to be found everywhere in Europe and in the world and we got to interview some of them to learn more about their work, motivation and objectives. Through their work they try to make the world a more sustainable place and to work more with resources that we already have.

The heroes of repair featured in the videos operate in what are known as repair cafes, which provide more than just a service – they also create a forum of exchange and learning.

From a community way, it’s something people can do together, so it’s communities getting together, sharing skills, sharing space and learning how to repair things while looking at the environmental impact.

Paul O’Donell

[Repair skills] are there in our community but they’re hidden away. One of the things that is great about our repair cafe is that it creates a space to bring those skills all out into the open again and make them visible.

Chris, Repair Café Belfast

Repairing the environment

Right to Repair practitioners and advocates work to raise awareness of our roles and responsibilities to combat human-induced climate change and to shift towards more responsible lifestyles and sustainable models of production and use. This focus on repair represents a shift from the current linear economy towards a more circular economy focusing on reduction, reuse, repair and recycling.

In the EU, legislation is evolving and some countries are already taking steps in the right direction.

For example, in January 2021 a new part of France’s anti-waste French came into force. Manufacturers are now obliged to include a reparability index on their appliances. The French government hopes to increase electronic repairs rate to 60% over the next five years. Although campaigners welcomed the new regulations, they expressed concern that manufacturers rate their own products.

Earlier this month in Brussels, MEPs backed binding, mandatory targets in the EU Circular Economy Action Plan, including measures to ensure that a wider range of products are designed to be more durable, repairable and recyclable.

Want to test your knowledge of repair? Take the test!