A new house mate joined our flat last month, and among the belongings he brought with him was a Phillips sound system from the 70s. It had been his grandad’s, his dad’s and now it belongs to him – and it still works perfectly.
It got me thinking about the saying, ‘they don’t make ‘em like they used to!’ and maybe there’s some truth in that. Nowadays we only keep a mobile phone for 2 years until we discard it for an upgrade, we give up easily when a device runs slow or gets damaged and the average person buys 3 new gadgets every year.Is it really that surprising that electronic items are becoming the fastest growing waste stream in the UK? Over 1 million tonnes of our gadgets get binned every year. The problem with wasting electronic items is that they contain valuable metals as well as plastics and other materials. These can be recovered through the recycling process but only about 30% of our unwanted electricals get recycled. What’s even more important than recycling your unwanted electronics is reusing them, whether that means repairing a broken item to give it a new lease of life or sharing a working item you no longer need with others. A number of projects in London alone have inspired us to join our community in the reuse revolution. Keep reading to hear about some of our favourites!
The Restart Project is a London Based charity working to prevent electronic waste by hosting events up and down the UK where they help people restart their gadgets. So far they’ve helped prevent 5284kg of electronic waste. By working with communities, schools and companies to provide hands-on learning events, the Restart Project aims to do more than just fix your broken electronics for you – their aim is to change our relationship with electronics for good, by challenging our throw-away economy and valuing our electronics longer. The ‘Restart Code’ includes some simple steps we can all take to help fix our relationship with electronics. For example – ‘when we have a problem we will not panic, we’ll check the warranty, get help and do what we can to repair our electronic device. When we solve our problem, we will share that knowledge!’ Head to their website to join 3520 people already signed up to live this way. Want to get involved? Check out one of the free ‘Restart Parties’ where you’ll be joined by skilled volunteers who can help you learn to fix your slow or broken devices.
Name two things a lot of Londoners wish they had more of… …space and money! A lot of people without the money to buy expensive tools or the space to store them could benefit from a local place where they can borrow items for a low price. That’s exactly what a Library of Things is for – it’s a place where you can borrow and share all sorts of things, like tools, kitchenware, gardening equipment and camping kit. And we think it’s a fantastic alternative to wasting money and valuable resources on brand new items that people in your community already own. The Library of Things does even more than it says on the tin, because they run 1-to-1 sessions and workshops to teach you how to use the tools you borrow and promote community engagement by hosting regular open nights. The one we know and love is located in West Norwood, South London, so check it out if you’re ever around. They promise to keep borrowing prices low, make you feel welcome and share tips on how to use things. In return, make sure you love and care for the items you’ve borrowed and bring them back on time.
Here at Local Green Points we’re experts at engaging with communities to encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle. Our approach is innovative – combining web and app platforms, communications campaigns and face to face engagement to connect with our target audience. We find rewards and incentives key to promoting ongoing behaviour change, so we reward members of our campaigns with points for every positive step they take – whether it’s preventing food waste, recycling more, using a Bring bank or reducing contamination. Residents work together to earn the most points and win prizes for their local community. In the last month we’ve been in Warwickshire, Norfolk, and West London handing out prizes to some real recycling champions and great local causes. When it comes to electronics, we’re working with residents of 13 boroughs to encourage them to fix them up, donate them, reuse them or recycle them!