Londoners need a repair revolution: £1.9 billion worth of repairable items binned & £3 billion squandered on replacements in past year

Amidst the continuing cost of living crisis and the ever-deepening climate crisis, the London Recycles campaign is championing affordable and accessible repair services across the capital with London’s fourth Repair Week running from 11th to 17th March 2024.

Censuswide research, commissioned by London Recycles, reveals a staggering figure: Londoners discarded an estimated £1.9 billion1 worth of repairable items last year, an average of £269.42 per adult in London, marking a £100 million increase from a similar survey commissioned by the campaign a year ago.

The financial toll is significant, particularly considering that Londoners also forked out an average of £459.80 to replace damaged or broken items that could have been repaired. Extrapolated across all Londoners, this amounts to a jaw-dropping £3 billion[1] spent replacing repairable stuff!

In more positive news the desire to change is palpable: 73%[2] of Londoners express a willingness to repair items themselves if the process is straightforward, while 71%2 express a desire to acquire repair skills to save money. However, accessibility remains a hurdle: 65%2 of Londoners lament the scarcity of nearby repair shops, while 63%2 feel that there’s not enough support for repair businesses to keep them afloat on the high street.

In the words of Ali Moore, head of campaigns for London Recycles:“The fact that so many people are getting involved in Repair Week again shows what an appetite for repair there is in the city – and there are lots of simple repairs we can undertake ourselves to prolong the lifespan of bikes, clothes, furniture, and electronics. But for more complex repairs, repair experts usually offer services at a fraction of the cost of buying new – and these need to be accessible, which means we need to help the repair sector to thrive across the capital.

“We really hope that Repair Week inspires people to mend their own things but also leads to more support for organisations offering repair services to their community – for instance by landlords offering access to vacant shop premises, or financial institutions providing more business support, or simply through local people setting up or making better use of their community repair hubs or cafes. There’s a clear role for repair as people continue to struggle with cost of living pressures, because it can save us money by keeping our stuff in use for longer.”

To help bridge the skills gap, London Repair Week returns from 11th to 17th March 2024, featuring over 70 partners hosting events and workshops across the capital. These initiatives aim to empower Londoners with the knowledge and skills to repair their belongings, save money, combat climate change, and rekindle affection for long-neglected possessions!

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues, said: “We must continue to do everything we can to minimise waste and tackle the climate emergency.

“Repair Week is a fantastic way for every single Londoner to play their part and I hope it will inspire us all, as we keep building a fairer, greener and more prosperous London for everyone.”

With Repair Week promising to be bigger and better than ever, the lineup includes a diverse array of events, from bicycle and textile repair workshops to electrical repair sessions – many of which are free of charge. ReLondon has also unveiled a series of free mini repair hack videos on their website, offering practical guidance for budding repair enthusiasts.

Confirmed event hosts for #RepairWeekLDN include UCL Plastic Waste Innovation Hub, Fabrications, Makers Cabinet, and Hackney Fixers. For a comprehensive list of workshops, repair hacks, and a directory of professional repair services, follow the links below:

Join us in transforming the way we use our stuff, one repair at a time. Together, we can save money, protect the planet, and rediscover the joy in our cherished possessions!