Community Solutions to the E-waste Problem
In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the consumption of electricals and electronics such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets. As most of these products are not built to last, e-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world and has severe social and environmental impacts.
One way to tackle the e-waste problem is to maintain and repair devices so as to increase their lifespan. Community-led repair projects across the world are stepping up to support people to fix – not bin – their stuff.
And it’s not just about reducing waste. Community repair projects keep people connected, combat digital exclusion and help people learn new skills.
Community Repair in Action
Repair Cafés are community events where people can learn to fix their broken household items alongside an experienced volunteer.
There are a range of community groups who organise Repair Cafés in Oxfordshire, such as SHARE Oxford and Greening Chinnor. Together, they’ve saved over 3 tonnes of electricals and electronics from getting thrown away.
“My sewing, gardening, building skills have improved… I would say the greatest risk to myself at the Repair Cafés is the cake. One slice is never enough.”– Repair Café volunteer
Digital Inclusion Schemes
Since the start of the pandemic, everyone’s demand on technology has increased. But those who don’t have access to a device or the internet can find themselves socially isolated and unable to work, apply for jobs or pursue education or training.
Community groups have started fixing up and distributing laptops and mobile phones to people who need them, including refugees, asylum seekers and people shielding due to COVID-19.
Such an initiative was set up by Plymouth Borrow Don’t Buy, who also encouraged businesses in one street of to make their Wi-Fi publicly available. Similar initiatives were set up by Solidaritech in Bradford and Sustainable Didcot and Sustainable Wantage in Oxfordshire.
Would you like to set up a community repair project?
If you’re based in Oxfordshire, the CAG Oxfordshire team can provide you with guidance and resources to help you set up a repair project in your community. Community groups who become members of the CAG Oxfordshire Network are eligible for additional support. More information here.
Get in touch
If you’ve got an idea for a project or you’d like to find out more, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 07383 393 737.
What is CAG Oxfordshire?
Community Action Groups (CAG) Oxfordshire consists of over 80 groups across Oxfordshire at the forefront of community led climate change action. Member groups organise events and run projects to take action on issues including waste, transport, food, energy, biodiversity and social justice. Find out more by visiting our website.