Hello and a very warm welcome to you. We really hope you enjoy our latest thought provoking article on ‘The Right to Repair’ in which we discuss the way out of the throw away society that we find ourselves part of. 

You can find lots of information about great initiatives happening locally and more widely at the end of the newsletter, as well as a link to all of our previous newsletters. Please do get in touch if you would like to - we’d love to hear from you! 

The Treehouse Gang

#006 - The Right to Repair

A few weeks ago, our 8-year-old washing machine stopped working. For 10 whole, very long days. 

We’re careful about not washing clothes unnecessarily, to minimise our environmental impact, so there wasn’t a mountain to do, at least. Thankfully we had several generous offers from friends and our clothes were laundered at their houses.  

But what about the broken machine?

When I mentioned it in passing, several people said “oh they cost as much to repair as to replace - just get a new one.” Aware that there is no “out” when we throw something out, the thought of the huge carcass of this thing heading to landfill was grim. 

And so, not for the first time, I found myself thinking about the right to repair, and the throwaway economy that the modern day society has created. My parents and grandparents grew up in a world where repair shops were commonplace, and “make do and mend” attitudes prevailed. 

Repairability of appliances (large and small) should be prized, sought after, and even incentivised. Unfortunately, many manufacturers of our most popular household gadgets and machinery have made their repair impractical, expensive and sometimes impossible.

Back in 2005, my first iPod (remember those?) broke within a year. The “genius” in the Apple Store tossed it aside and handed me a brand new one. They weren’t designing products for their longevity. In fact, the intentional use of proprietary parts, and rendering technology rapidly obsolete; produces “quick-to-fail” designs, encouraging you to “upgrade” as soon as possible. 

How tone-deaf that seems today. “E-waste” is now the fastest-growing domestic waste in the world. The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) found that extending the lifetime of all washing machines, laptops, vacuum cleaners and smartphones in the EU by one year would save four million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually by 2030 – the equivalent of taking two million cars off the roads each year.

So what to do? 

We’re pleased to say there’s already great progress being made:

  • In 2009, a lady named Martine Postma founded what was to become an international network of Repair Cafes. There are now an estimated 1500 cafes in 33 countries and counting. You take your broken item to a drop-in clinic where expert volunteers will offer solutions and repairs.  Excitingly, Macclesfield is aiming for its very own repair cafe soon… (follow Scoop and Scales or Macctastic for updates).
  • The average powerdrill is supposedly used for somewhere between six and twenty minutes in its entire lifetime. It might be worth considering if you actually need to buy the gadget… Could it be loaned instead? In fact, do you have anything to donate? Bollington Borrowers has been born from the idea of running a local ‘Library of Things’.  The group has an active committee and a venue from which to run the scheme- and will be up and running before long! 
  • Mr Fonez and Riz electrics are the places to take your damaged or broken phones locally for repair
  • Timpson’s in the Grovenor Centre or at Tesco’s can work their magic on your worn down shoes and the Indoor Market also has Macclesfield Tailoring for the adjustment and repair of clothes.

Oh, and our washing machine? It just needed 2 replacement parts, cost less than £100 and is running perfectly, as I type. (Thanks to Royles). P.S not our real machine :)

Further Links:

Repair Cafes - Amazing map of repair cafes, Transition Wilmslow Cafe, Repair Cafe Marple

Bollington Borrowers - A Library of Things coming soon to Bollington. Borrow items you only require for one project rather than buying.

IFIXIT  A brilliant group called IFIXIT are attempting to collect and publish a free repair manual for every device, and translating them into many languages.
Commercial repairers - Paul Peters Services of Macclesfield, Royles, Mr Fonez, Riz Electrics


Repair, reuse, recycle: how Britain is tackling throwaway culture
The country rejecting throwaway culture
The Global E-waster Monitor

Do you have anything to donate to Bollington Borrowers? please get in touch on the Bollington Borrowers Facebook page (above) or by contact here 


The Beautiful Bollington Gardening Competition (10th-11th July)
Scoop and Scales are looking for volunteers -  if you’d like to have a go at joining the team contact here.

Please share this newsletter with family and friends. If you not already subscribed, click here and you can also view past issues of the newsletter here. If you'd like to help bring The Treehouse to life please get in touch. We are looking for people who'd either like to pitch in with the development of our plan and strategy, or to help organise actions and events to build momentum in the area.
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Treehouse Ecohub · 20 Hurst Lane · Bollington · Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5LP · United Kingdom

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