Reduce, Reuse, Re… uh.
Twice recently we have had domestic appliances fail. Our dishwasher appears to have been attacked by a rat which chewed through a seal leading to the heat pump shorting out, and my streaming hi-fi’s power supply blew out. For the former, we got the manufacturer-approved repair company to come and fix it; for the latter I went to the local ‘man with a soldering iron’ repair shop.
Here are my thoughts:
Repair costs for both were just over half the cost of replacing the unit with a brand new one with new features, new components etc. This meant that we had to actively decide to go for the repair on ecological principle rather than it being the obvious choice. If repair was, say, a third of the replacement cost, then it would be a no brainer.
The service for both has been less than slick, certainly compared to the frictionless purchase processes we are used to. Twice the dishwasher repair guys had to order a part which ‘should have been in the van’ and we had to stay in all day for each appointment when they did return with the parts – three days in total. The hi-fi repair guy seemed to forget all about the job until I went in and spoke sternly to him – but he did then prioritise it.
OK, these are just two examples, but if we are going to switch to a circular economy where we refurbish complex products rather than buying new ones each time one component fails, then the whole repair business needs to up its game. Repair should be the obvious, convenient option, not a pain in the backside.