The Repair Movement Boosts Reuse

By Ted Reiff

There's a worldwide "repair movement" underway. That's a fact I didn't know until very recently, when a reader sent me several news articles that describe various aspects of the movement. Included are "right to repair" organizations fighting for easier access to repair information from manufacturers (electronics is a main focus) and "repair cafés," where people can take broken or inoperable items and find volunteers with the expertise to fix them. Then there's www.ifixit.org, a growing online resource that promotes repair-ability through a variety of initiatives.

I must admit to being somewhat puzzled by the idea that repairing (rather than replacing) broken items borders on revolutionary. After all, a few short decades ago if something broke you either fixed it yourself or took it to a repair facility. You could always find a shop that repaired worn or damaged appliances, bicycles, radios, shoes, furniture, even clothing (the local tailor or seamstress).

Then, too, TRP is in the reuse business, so I'm surrounded by salvaged products, most of which are going to need some kind of fixing, even if it's just a coat of paint. Customers can purchase beautiful cabinetry, windows, doors, lighting fixtures and other used products from TRP, but they wouldn't be in our store if they weren't ready to retrofit or restore what they buy. Appliances are the only items that are guaranteed to be in working order and for which TRP allows a brief return window.

There are several reasons getting things repaired has become more difficult. Planned obsolescence is one. Another is the ease of finding replacement products, which often cost less than what you'd spend to have the broken item repaired. And when manufacturers restrict repair information to "authorized" facilities, unsanctioned repair shops go out of business. Those are things the movement is trying to change.

I'm glad that informed consumers are starting to rethink their options when it comes to the question of whether to repair or replace broken items, because repairs lead to reuse, and reuse is what TRP is all about. The more people are willing to repair stuff, the more they will be willing to purchase used products. Repair and reuse go hand in hand.

It's all part and parcel of the circular economy, wherein products and resources are kept moving throughout the system rather than trucked off to that ultimate dead-end — the local landfill.

If you're interested in learning more about the repair movement, check out these articles:

Repair is the New Green - Ifixit.org

At Repair Cafes, 'Beloved but Broken' Possessions Find New Life - NY Times

The Fight for the Right to Repair - The Smithsonian

'Repair cafés' are about fixing things - including the economy

Come to the Fair!

Be sure to mark your calendar for our grand reopening celebration! It’s the Oakland ReUse Fair on Saturday, August 19, from 10:00 to 3:00 on the of TRP-Habitat for Humanity ReStore grounds, 9235 San Leandro Street, Oakland.

Additional space at both TRP and the ReStore will enable shoppers to more easily browse the vast and varied inventory of quality used materials at both venues, while enjoying music, food, and family-friendly activities. Take advantage of a 50% discount on everything at the ReStore, along with additional discounts on many TRP materials as well.

The Oakland ReUse Fair is a free community event and will feature food trucks, local bands The Hipwaders and Cap & Iain, plus family-friendly activities such as face-painting and children’s crafts.

Location and Contact Information

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Oakland
9235 San Leandro Street
Oakland, CA  94603
(510) 383-1983; toll-free 888-588-9490
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00-6:00 Closed Sunday

TRP ReUse Warehouse - Los Angeles
3015 Dolores Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90065
818-244-5635
Hours: Mon-Fri 10:00-5:00; Sat 10:00-4:00

Please visit our partnering warehouses:

Salvage Too - Rockford Reuse Center
907 S Main Street
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 963-6236
Hours: Tue-Fri, 11:00am-4:30pm

The ReUse Warehouse
1400 East Geer Street
Durham, NC 27704
(919) 219-4913
Hours: Mon-Fri, 2:00-6:00; Sat, 9:30-5:00

Second Chance Building Materials Center
1423 West Grove Street
Boise, ID 83702
(208) 331-2707
Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:00-6:00; Sun, 12:00-5:00

Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity
7025 Hwy 82
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 945-7733
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:00-5:30; Sat, 10:00-5:00; Sun, 11:00-4:00

Stardust Building Supply
3901 E. Thunderbird Road
Phoenix, AZ 85032
(602) 459-9803
Hours: Mon-Sat, 8:00-6:00; Sun, 10:00-4:00

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Salt Lake Valley,
1276 South 500 West
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
(801) 263-0136
Hours: Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm; closed Sunday

Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Summit & Wasatch Counties
6280 N. Silver Creek Drive, Silver Summit, UT
(435) 487-9015
Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00; closed Sunday

Recycle Utah
1951 Woodbine Way Park City, UT 84060
(435) 649-9698
Hours: Mon-Sat 8:00-5:30; Sun 10:00-4:00

Reuse Depot
50 West Madison
Maywood, IL 60153
(708) 223-0502
Hours: Wed-Mon 10:00-6:00p; Closed Tuesdays

New England Reuse
400 Sackett Point Rd
North Haven, CT 06473
(203) 230-2638
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00-5:00p; Saturday 9:00-1:00p

 

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