Repairing items is becoming more of a mainstream activity in many countries as people seek to reduce waste and support the environment. But what does taking the repair route mean for emissions? That’s a question the newly launched, and free-to-use, Repair Café Carbon Calculator has been designed to answer for repair organisations and repair cafes across the globe. Built in England by the Farnham Repair Café via a collaboration with the University for the Creative Arts, it is believed to offer the world’s first digital tool for reporting CO2 emission savings stemming from repaired goods.
“Many repair cafés have traditionally used simple paper-based ‘measure by weight’ methods,” said Professor Martin Charter, Director, The Centre for Sustainable Design [CfSD], University for the Creative Arts (UCA), and Chair of the Board of Trustees of FRC. “Our carbon calculator enables users to quickly estimate emission savings by weight or even just the number of successful repairs alone, or in greater detail by product repair category.”
The calculator has two versions: Quick, for emission savings by weight and amount of repairs carried out, and Standard, which will work for premises that have product records – and group items into categories like electrical, clothing or jewellery.
Professor Charter continued: “Very little hard data about repair cafés’ potential ability to mitigate CO2 emissions has been published to date. Our calculator is the first tool to give repair cafés the opportunity to change that, by using more accurate evidence-based estimations of CO2 savings from product repairs.
“Making our calculator free-to-use by repair cafes and other repair organisations worldwide will, we anticipate, help policy makers, manufacturers, repairers and customers make the connection between the circular economy and climate change.
“Historically, broader environmental benefits of repair cafés have been highlighted in the media and social media. The calculator enables more specific evidence based estimates of CO2 emissions, showing the real impact that repair cafes can make.”
The calculator was developed through a three month collaboration between FRC trustee Steve Privett and Professor Charter, supported with funding from UCA, received from the Strategic Priorities Fund from Research England.
“Social and community are also an important aspect of repair cafés. We are seeing increased community interest and, when covid-19 lockdown and social distancing are lifted, repair cafés can expect to see a further strengthening of their relationship with their local communities,” added Professor Charter.