Repair, don’t toss, those damaged goods | Local 20/20

Mandi Johnson
Posted 1/26/22

Are you familiar with the concept of a circular economy? 

Simply put, this approach addresses the idea of extending a belonging’s lifecycle by implementing practices such as sharing, …

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Repair, don’t toss, those damaged goods | Local 20/20

Ron Moller looks at the wiring for a lamp during a Repair Cafe.
Ron Moller looks at the wiring for a lamp during a Repair Cafe.
Photo courtesy of Local 2020
Posted

Are you familiar with the concept of a circular economy? 

Simply put, this approach addresses the idea of extending a belonging’s lifecycle by implementing practices such as sharing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling so that we can reduce the use of raw materials and the amount of waste heading toward our landfills. 

As a society, we currently practice a much more linear economy where we take natural resources, make them into products and then throw them away. It is important to note that many of our products are now designed and manufactured in such a way that we often don’t even have a choice in this. 

However, there are many initiatives in the works to address this.

The allure and practicality of a more circular-based economy comes from a variety of angles. Whether you appreciate the environmental benefits of using our natural resources more efficiently, saving money by having the option to extend our products’ lives rather than repurchasing new, or the resiliency it brings to a society to be more self-sustaining, a circular economy is something many are looking toward as a positive approach for future community planning.

One important step in the circular economy is the dying art of repair. Fortunately, there is a creative solution that countless across the globe have adopted to bring back a culture of repairing our goods: Repair Events. 

You may have heard these referred to as Repair Cafes, Fixit Fairs, Fixit Clinics, or one of the many other reiterations. This may sound familiar since Port Townsend had its first Repair Café in February 2020!

These events are free community gatherings where individuals can bring their broken belongings to be repaired by local volunteers who possess a range of skills and knowledge. These repairs can vary from sewing a ripped sleeve to rewiring a floor lamp or figuring out why the suction from your vacuum has suddenly stopped. Attending a Repair Event sparks connection within the community and creates an environment where we can share knowledge about our stuff, while also diverting our personal possessions from the landfill!
Last year, the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, in partnership with Local 2020’s Beyond Waste action group, received a Public Participation Grant from the Washington Department of Ecology to fund the coordination and operation of a set of Repair Events for Jefferson County. 

Currently, in-person events are being planned for early spring in Port Townsend, Tri-Area, and Quilcene pending COVID restrictions. Until then, we have been hosting Repair Goes Remote events that allow community members to drop off their broken belongings to be repaired remotely. 

We currently have volunteers who can attempt repairs for small appliances, electronics, and textiles. Keep an eye out for these future events as plans solidify on our webpage, ptmsc.org/jeffcorepair. Any questions can be directed to Mandi Johnson at mjohnson@ptmsc.org.
Do you have repair skills or just love tinkering with items, figuring out what the problem might be and putting it back together? We invite you to join our crew of volunteers! Reach out to Mandi for more information on how to get involved.

(Mandi Johnson is the Outreach Coordinator at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center and is currently focused on building sustainability in Jefferson County via waste reduction and repair initiatives. She is passionate about challenging society’s current mentality towards waste and empowering the community to create a resilient future.)

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