Gen Z Londoners lead the way in repair culture

New research commissioned by the London Recycles campaign ahead of the capital’s first ever Repair Week (12 Oct) has revealed that Londoners are ‘eager to repair and re-use things’, with over two thirds (69%) stating they would repair more of their household items and possessions if they knew how.

The findings also ‘flip the assumption’ that younger consumers are more likely to be the ‘throw-away generation’ – 85% of 18-24-year olds and 83% of 25–34-year olds have repaired items including clothing, furniture or bicycles in the last year, compared to just 47% of Londoners aged over 55.

With 40% of Londoners not confident about making common household repairs, London Recycles is launching Repair Week on 12th October to help more people learn how to keep items like clothing, bikes, furniture and electricals in use for longer.

The campaign will be celebrating local repair services and encouraging people to nominate themselves or repair businesses in their area using #LocalRepairHeroes – as well as encouraging Londoners to give repair a go themselves.

London Recycles will also be creating a Repair Hub where residents can find hacks, tips, partner content and a repair guide, along with a mini-directory of local repair businesses and community repair projects.

A wide range of businesses, councils and community groups are supporting Repair Week to share tips, offer discounts on repair services and show how they can help make everyone’s possessions last longer.

It doesn’t matter if we do the repair ourselves or pay someone to do it for us; equipping people with the tools to make positive changes is more important than ever as we start to recover from the effects of the pandemic – Wayne Hubbard, LWARB

Partners include Currys PC World, which is offering a special discount on their ‘Fault & Fix’ in-store repair service on laptops all week. Others taking part include: Save Your Wardrobe, Clothes Doctor, TRAID, The Restart Project and over 25 of London’s councils.

45% of global carbon emissions currently come from producing the stuff we use every day, so keeping things in use for longer is an important part of tackling the climate crisis.

Wayne Hubbard, Chief Executive of the London Waste and Recycling Board (who run the London Recycles campaign), said: “By enabling many more people to carry out simple repairs, we can make a big difference to both the planet and people’s pockets, reducing the amount of stuff we send to landfill.

“It doesn’t matter if we do the repair ourselves or pay someone to do it for us; equipping people with the tools to make positive changes is more important than ever as we start to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“We need a collective and urgent effort to tackle the climate emergency. Keeping our things in use for longer has a direct impact on the carbon emissions caused by making and transporting new products – so it’s hugely encouraging to see so many organisations come together for our first London Repair Week, which offers a practical route for positive action.”

Currys PC World are one of the biggest partners involved in the week.

“As the UK’s number one retailer tech recycler, we are delighted to be supporting this inaugural London Repair Week event and encouraging consumers to reuse and recycle their unwanted items,” explains Kesah Trowell, Head of Sustainable Business for Currys PC World.

“In addition to the nationwide discount on laptop repairs we are offering, anyone can bring in any unwanted tech for recycling, regardless of whether it has been bought from us.”

 At a glance

The survey was conducted by Censuswide with 1,003 respondents in Greater London aged 18+, and took place from 3rd to 7th September 2020. The survey also found that:

  • A quarter of Londoners wouldn’t feel confident repairing a hole in an item of clothing
  • 90% of Londoners aged over 55 think we are losing repair skills that used to be commonplace
  • And yet, 62% of Generation Z (18-24-year olds) and 66% of Millennials (25–34-year olds) feel confident repairing a broken zip, compared to only half of over 55s
  • Mobile phones are the most common items to be repaired in a shop or by a professional (30%) whilst the least common items to be repaired in shops or by a professional were household furniture (10%), household electricals (12%) and domestic appliances (17%)

Repair Week

The wide range of activity taking place across Repair Week includes:

  • London Recycles will be sharing stats and facts, top tips and hacks, and lots of social media content highlighting London’s #LocalRepairHeroes
  • Newham Council and Socko will be holding a virtual darning workshop on 17 October at 14:00
  • Save Your Wardrobe will be hosting a fireside chat with some of their service partners (Clothes Doctor, Shoe Spa and Blanc) and Glasgow University on 12 October at 15.30
  • West London Waste Authority will be holding a series of Dr Bike events where experienced mechanics from Cycle Confident will check bikes over and carry out any needed adjustments
  • Hackney Council has teamed up with Loanhood to hold a clothes swap on Saturday 17 October
  • Westminster Council and Clothes Doctor will be hosting a virtual darning and button –sewing tutorial on Friday 16 October at 18:00
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