Repair and Reuse Your Tech: The Restart Project
Since 2013, London-based social enterprise, The Restart Project, has been playing a very significant part in the UK's fight against e-waste.
And we love what they're about: helping the general public become more sustainable tech owners. Through 'Restart Parties' and 'Fixing Factories', they teach and support tech repair. And by repairing electronics and redistributing donations they are helping to bridge the digital divide.
All In The Name Of Reducing Waste
As strong advocates of the Right to Repair, The Restart Project aims to encourage manufacturers to make more sustainable and fixable devices. And while this movement is gaining traction, they make it their mission help people use their tech longer and teach the skills needed for electronics repair. They’re based in London, but frequently promote repair workshops throughout the UK and as far away as New Zealand and Canada!
At Gotraka, we're aiming to help you find the perfect devices to meet your needs, without needing to fall into the annual replacement cycle. By promoting and supporting The Restart Project, we want to help steer towards a circular economy. Through repair and redistribution, this kind of system will make our tech last far longer.
Giving the general public the ability to fix their e-devices will help everyone contribute to a more sustainable society.
The Restart Code
Many groups dedicated to sustainability have a personal ethos and The Restart Project has... The Restart Code. Helping you to mentally flow chart your way to sustainable decisions by:
- Choosing products that are designed to last
- Protecting and enjoying your devices
- Not panicking if you have a problem
- Checking the warranty and getting informed
- Repairing, or searching the repair directory of 300+ fixers to find help
- Sharing your experience
One of the really interesting parts of the code is around sharing your experience, even if it isn’t successful. By highlighting the issues you experienced, you’ll likely discover others who have had the same experience (and who may have advice).
Sharing these frustrations shows the importance of the Right to Repair movement. This code resonates with a lot of Gotraka’s own views, including our commitment to buy once, buy right.
How Can I Learn to Repair Electronics?
Whilst it's possible to learn how to make and repair almost anything online, the Restart Project offers something very tangible and practical.
The Restart Project’s 'Fixing Factories' give devices a new lease of life. These welcoming spaces allow you to learn electronics repair, and come out the other side with your tablet or toaster in working order.
Fixing Factories aim to empower communities by teaching new skills, and help the environment by diverting tech from landfill. They’re also intended to narrow the digital divide by accepting and redistributing tech donations to those in need.
The first of the Fixing Factories was set up in Brent with the help of the West London Waste Authority. This was also a collaboration led by one of The Restart Project’s partners, Ready Tech Go. More recently, another location has opened in Camden and they have stated their desire to one day have a Fixing Factory on every high street.
Here at Gotraka, we’re excited to see so many positive sustainability projects popping up in our stomping ground. But we're also excited to see how they influence and impact ventures further afield.
The Restart Project is involved with a huge number of other groups dedicated to building a circular economy. This includes well-established organisations like Ready Tech Go and Mer-IT. However, by working with a wide spread of smaller local groups, The Restart Project can help people who can’t reach the London Fixing Factories.
These 'Restart Parties' serve a similar function to the 'Fixing Factories'. Experienced volunteers help to improve your fixing skills while you fix your own tech. Impressively, more than 200 groups in over 20 countries have signed up to be a part of the community.
Click To Find An Event Near You
The Restart Parties page shows all upcoming events. By clicking an event, you can see more details including information about the group hosting the event. Each specific group’s stats can also be seen, including the number of participants, hours volunteered, waste and CO₂ emission prevented. It’s very inspiring!
If you find that you don’t have any participating Restart Parties nearby, there are resources available to set one up in your area.
Restart Radio is The Restart Project’s recurring podcast. It features repairers, designers, writers, thinkers, activists and makers who prefer to repair. Host Dave Pickering guides listeners through interviews, observations and other facilitated activities.
While this isn’t a replacement for the technical knowledge you’ll get from a Restart Party or Fixing Factory event, it can certainly whet your appetite. Hosting or even attending a fixing event might seem daunting; Restart Radio shows how these events are nothing to fear. We love the idea of have these spaces to learn electronics repair from an expert!
Top Tips To Repairing Broken Tech Habits
Repairing tech is a fantastic skill, but it isn’t the only way you can help out. Even if you have no experience with repairing electronics, or just want to contribute in some other way, you can still get involved. Here are some of the ways you can get started...
The Restart Project and its affiliate repair groups provide incredibly valuable services. Their aim to support Restart Parties globally and have a Fixing Factory on every high street can’t happen without volunteers. If you can, this is among the most valuable ways you can help — even if you don’t currently have a ton of experience.
Tech With A Greener Conscience
Gotraka wholeheartedly supports The Restart Project UK. Their local community workshops, and collaborative worldwide efforts are inspiring. Through promoting groups like The Restart Project, as well as the Right to Repair movement, and maintaining our own sustainability efforts, Gotraka will continue to push for a circular economy that benefits us all.