4th October 2016 - Violetta.Lynch

The Restart Project is a people-powered platform for change, working with communities, schools and companies to help people value and use their electronics for longer. Their aim is to drive a global movement away from throw-away culture.

They take action to prevent electronic waste through hands-on, learning events where they help people fix their own electronics and build a better relationship with their stuff

Kathryn Packer of Restart is our guest blogger this week, talking to us about how Restart came about and what it has achieved. If you'd like to get involved in the project, check out the website and find an event local to you.

"The Restart Project was born out of trying to find a better way to channel the combination of frustration and apathy we often feel in the face of broken electrical items. The approach takes inspiration from the way people in poorer countries fix and make use of technology, extending the life of scarce resources. In wealthier countries, electrical items are a growing part of the waste we chuck out. Whilst extracting the precious metals from electronics and reusing them is a positive, with a little help many of the items thrown away can be fixed.

Restart Parties bring together people who have broken gadgets, and a fantastic group of volunteers who look to tinker, repair and fix. The focus of the events is on skill-sharing and participants with broken electronic equipment take an active part in the repair.

We call them parties because they have a fun, ad-hoc spirit, where participants bring food and music, and people often meet and mingle. Parties can occur in different types of venues: pubs, churches, community centers, art galleries and typically last three hours. The types of equipment that can be brought for repair are: mobile phones, cameras, music players, headphones and so on.

Here are some of the reasons our volunteers give for why they keep coming back to do repairs:

“I love helping people, I love learning and I love solving a puzzle. At Restart Parties I can do all three at the same time." Faraz

“When I was little I used to dismantle things (even if they were working) to see how they worked (sometimes I never managed to put them back together). I attend Restart Parties because I believe that we have to repair everything we have and not constantly buy new." Orsetta

“I’ve maintained an interest in electronics ever since my first repair, probably around 50 years ago, which is long since lost in the mists of time! Perhaps best of all [when repairing] is the smile on someone’s face when an old piece of equipment and a trusty friend to the owner is brought back to life.” Philip

Our 'Restart the Capital' tour of London, supported by Recycle for London, is taking us to new places, as well as to old friends who regularly run Restart Parties in their community.  We would love to hear from people who would like to share their technical skills (you can volunteer here) or get the party started in their neighbourhood, or workplace. We have a guide which you can download on how to set up your own Restart Party, and in London there is a strong network of people already involved and ready to help.

So, come along to an event near you or if you like to tinker, look into hosting a party of your own. It's great fun and worthwhile!

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