The Right to Repair

Saturday, the 19th of October is International Repair Day.

At Solutions for the Planet we support the Right to Repair.


  • One study showed that between 2004 and 2012, the proportion of major household appliances that died within five years rose from 3.5% to 8.3%.
  • An analysis of junked washing machines at a recycling centre showed that more than 10% were less than five years old.
  • Another study estimates that because of the CO2 emitted in the manufacturing process, a long-lasting washing machine will generate over two decades 1.1 tonnes less CO2 than a short-lived model.
  • Many lamps sold in Europe come with individual light bulbs that can’t be replaced. So, when one bulb packs in, the whole lamp has to be jettisoned.

However, a growing network of citizen repairers and campaigners are making themselves heard, calling on governments and manufacturers to ensure that products last – and that means making repair easy and affordable.

The Manchester Declaration – , which was published in 2018 by UK community repair organisations, calls on policymakers, product designers and manufacturers to ensure products are easy and affordable to repair. Repair Cafes and Restart Parties are great examples of communities getting together, supporting each other, sharing skills, and creating environmental benefit.

The EU’s new Ecodesign Directive was announced this week too, intended to extend the life of many appliances by ensuring replacement parts are easier to get hold of.

But repairing is nothing new and in many countries a necessity.

Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as Kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Travel to the developing world, and you’ll see many examples of patched-up products providing long service, from makeshift plumbing to reworked clothing. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were quite adept at fixing things up as funds were often limited.

International Repair Day is a joint initiative of the Open Repair Alliance, celebrated every year on the third Saturday of October.  This year, Repair Day falls on Saturday the 19th of October, which is also in the week celebrating the 10th anniversary of the first Repair Cafe!  In homage to Greta Thunberg and the student climate strikers, this year’s edition will focus on the need to repair for the climate and for the future.

Let’s get back to repairing and save money, learn new skills and help to save the planet!


Written by: Claire Fitton, S4TP Programme Manager, North England & Scotland

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solutions for the Planet Ltd