The Brisbane Tool Library is one inspiring example of a trend that has swept the world – grassroots hubs (or ‘libraries of things’) which loan out tools that people may want to use occasionally, but not own. The goal, as Brisbane Tool Library founder Sabrina Chakori puts it, is “to go beyond the material consumption of the current ‘take, make, and dispose’ system,” instead creating a circular economy wherein inequality and waste are reduced through cooperation, sharing, and repurposing. These libraries don’t have to be limited to sharing tools, either. Since they are rooted in concrete locations, they allow for relationships to be built, and services and skills to be shared along with material goods. Learn more about the Brisbane Tool Library on their website. And find a tool library near you or learn what steps you can take to start one yourself. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Chakori
Members of the Club de Reparadores meet on Saturday afternoons in parks, plazas, or donated workshops to have fun, share knowledge, and repair broken household goods. Some members are repair experts; others just have goods that need fixing — but all share in the determination to keep landfills from filling and corporations from forcing us to put perfectly good products to waste. Though initially the club only met in Buenos Aires, today the Club de Reparadores has chapters in cities all over Argentina. For more information, follow Club de Reparadores on Facebook or Instagramand check out their website.Photo by Beatrice Murch(CC BY 2.0)
Edventure Frome empowers cooperative community enterprises by hosting free 10-week courses that teach groups of young adults to design and create a place-based start-up venture together. An early student team created the Welsh Mill Hub, a community center with co-working offices, a commercial kitchen, and event spaces available for hourly rental. Later cohorts used the Mill Hub space to create more enterprises….
Kyle Weins founded online repair community iFixit as part of his work to campaign against “programmed obsolescence.” In a time when companies like Toshiba sue users for sharing manuals, and companies like Apple make it imperative to buy a whole new iPad just because a battery dies, iFixit’s mission — making thousands of product manuals and instruction videos available online, and providing translations, tools and tech support — becomes a surprisingly radical project. In addition, Weins is currently pushing for “Right to Repair” legislation in seven states. His motto: “If you can’t fix it, you don’t really own it.” To learn more, visit iFixit or read Can pop-up ‘repair cafes’ save broken gadgets and solve growing waste levels?Photo by Thomas Cizauskas(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
L’Atelier Paysan is a French cooperative that helps farmers design machines and buildings appropriate to the needs of small-scale farms practicing agroecology. The group makes plans for its tools available for free on its website; it also organizes training sessions at which farmers learn metalworking by building tools they can use on their own farms. Through this work, the cooperative aims to help farmers “collectively regain technical sovereignty and autonomy through the re-appropriation of knowledge”, freeing them from dependency on big farm machinery companies, and advancing the movement towards local, small-scale, ecological food. Learn more in this article from Commons Transition.
A collaboration between nonprofit Kollaborativ Ekonomi Göteborg and the Gothenburg city government, this digital map of the city connects people with more than 100 sharing initiatives throughout the city, including free bike repair centers, makerspaces, solidarity fridges, clothing exchanges, and more. Learn more about Smarta Kartan and Gothenburg’s sharing economy (in English) and browse the map (Swedish).
Stop Planned Obsolescence (or HOP, after their French name Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée) is a French organization committed to “promoting alternative economic models around reuse, repair and recycling”. In addition to conducting public awareness campaigns and advocating for policy changes such as public funding for repair training programs, HOP successfully filed a legal complaint against Apple, Inc, for deliberately slowing down its devices to induce people to buy the latest models, and has also taken legal action against printer manufacturers for deliberately shortening the life of print cartridges. Read more at www.halteobsolescence.org (website in French).
From their two shop locations in the suburbs of Sydney, The Bower works to reduce landfill waste by fixing and reselling furniture, electronics and more. In addition, they offer ‘Tricks of the Trade’ workshops in basic carpentry, furniture repair, furniture painting and upholstery, and host Repair Cafes, with technicians on hand to help fix everything from “dodgy small electrical items” and “rickety tables and chairs” to “wobbly bicycles” — all for free! Repair cafes have proven so popular they have now gone on the road, offering services to residents in all parts of Sydney. To learn more, and view the Repair Cafe schedule, visit the Bower’s website.
The Catalan Integral Cooperative is a financial co-op, a food pantry, a legal-aid desk, an open-source tool workshop, a local currency (the “eco”) and a bed-and-breakfast for tourists in a medieval watchtower, all rolled into one. Its goal was to facilitate the creation of an entire ecosystem of alternative “post-capitalist” economic projects in Catalonia, to replace the dominant system. Read the P2P Foundation’s full report and summary of the cooperative’s structure and activities to learn more.
With funding from Zero Waste Scotland, the Edinburgh Remakery works to create jobs, reduce waste, and limit people’s dependence on the consumer economy. They do so by fixing textiles, computers, mobile phones and furniture at low cost; by offering courses where people can learn to fix things themselves; and by cheaply selling and sometimes donating refurbished computers, furniture and more. They’re currently trying to create more Remakeries throughout the UK. To learn more, visit the Remakery’s website. Photo courtesy by Edinburgh Remakery