New online repairs directory to be launched for Wicklow

A new online directory which will list repair services for everything from washing machines to jewellery and clothes alterations will be launched early next year by Wicklow County Council.

Rapid consumption of goods across Ireland and the rest of the world comes at a cost to the environment with carbon emissions from the production of mobile phones along equipment to the total emissions of Austria with 35kgs of CO2 for every phone.

Repair of broken appliances etc has a role to play in tackling over consumption with an estimated 10 per cent gain in carbon efficiency if we can move back to a repair culture.   This is the key idea behind the new repairmystuff.iewebsite.

Wicklow County Council is participating in the project and to mark European Week for Waste Reduction is putting out a call for businesses who would like to be listed on the free guide.

Businesses can contact the Environmental Awareness Office of Wicklow County Council if they would like to be registered under relevant categories such as appliances repair, clothes alterations, jewellery, furniture and upholstery or electronics.  The website will be a one-stop-point where the public will be able to find repair businesses in their local area.

Older generations will remember a time when businesses from the repair sector would have been found on the Main Streets of every town in Ireland and would have been a very visible part of the local economy.

Putting more focus on repair of goods will reduce the purchase and consumption of goods but can still have a very positive effect on the local economy and on reviving town centres.  Money spent on repair is money that goes directly to local skilled craftsmen and tradesmen rather than on imports and can also help create jobs.

The most commonly repaired items are laptops and mobile phones. With larger appliances it is often worthwhile to consider the age and energy efficiency of the item.  Fridges, freezers and washing machines, in particular, are worth updating to more efficient models when more than 10 years old.  The quality of the item will often be a factor to consider as well: the higher the quality the more worthwhile it is to get an item repaired, particularly with furniture, clothing or shoes.

Revitalising the repair sector is win-win situation.   Anyone working in the repair sector should be encouraged to register for this new free website.

The global figures for waste annually due to consumption is very high. It is estimated that 20m tonnes of electronic goods are produced annually while the clothing and textiles industry is estimated to be worth $3,000b with 68m tonnes of textiles consumed each year around the world.  A remarkable 1.9b mobile phones were purchased in 2015 with 60 made every single second.

Keeping our phones a little longer can make a difference.  If every phone sold was used for just one third longer we could prevent emissions equivalent to the carbon output from Singapore.  Mobile phones are often discarded while still in working order sometimes after as little as one year with an average life span of just two years.

Research in the UK has shown that 44 per cent of mobile phones, 22 per cent of household appliances, 50 per cent of audio visual equipment and 33 per cent of clothing are discarded in good working order.

Last week 15,000 international scientists signed a letter warning that urgent action is needed to tackle the linked issues of overconsumption and Climate Change.  The scientists, while pessimistic about current trends, pointed out that we have succeeded in recent decades when action was taken and cited the ozone depletion issue as an example this worked.

To Register contact: eao@wicklowcoco.ie

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