The recent Right to Repair Act alas excluded phones and laptops, so the big tech companies can still sell you expensive repair kits, unless you buy a more sustainable smartphone (that doesn’t glue things in, so you can’t repair them). For everything else, it helps to learn how to make simple repairs, so that you’re not at the mercy of the Argos salesperson who (it’s their job, don’t blame them) asks you if you’d like to spend a few pounds more on a warranty, assuming you won’t be able to fix a kettle:
I was given a kettle, which now leaks. I could mend it. If only I could tighten the base. But one of the screws has a star-shaped slot with a spike in the middle, which is designed to prevent repairs, as no available tool will fit it. So I will throw it away, and help to build an earthly paradise, by buying a new one. George Monbiot
How to Repair Everything is a wonderful green guide to fixing stuff. Just look up what you need to repair and find simple tips to get you out of a jam. The contents is all at the front, so it’s easy to find out how to repair anything including:
- Sticky doors
- Broken handbag straps
- Leaky washing machines
- Broken heels
heat-activated mending sticks
Fixits are innovative heat-activated sticks that are made from nontoxic bio-plastic, and mould to mend anything from a tire puncture to a broken spoke on a wheel. Designed to stop the mountain of waste, they can fix almost anything from broken bag straps to cables and drawers. Just melt them in hot water and remould.
Keep FixIt sticks away from children and pets. Do not use FixIts on electrical cables above 24 volts, nor where temperature will cause FixIts to soften again (exposing live wiring). Do not repair consumer electronics when connected to a live electricity supply.
With no expiry date, these are the ideal solution to our throwaway culture. Don’t bin it, when you can FixIt! The product uses reusable bioplastics to bond (not to glass but yes to fabric). It wraps around small fibres when soft, then hardens when cool to mechanically bond. It forms a ‘really strong grip’.
The same company makes reusable glue dots, also from compostable bio-plastic. These are super-strong to stick to non-porous surfaces like wood, metal, plastic, concrete, tiles and glass. Use them to reseal food packages and fix down rugs or tablecloths. One pack contains 30 glue dots (just peel and push in place). To reuse, just remove, wash with warm soapy water, then leave to dry to use again. They are very strong, so avoid on painted or wallpapered surfaces.
The company also makes reusable tape that are compatible with FixIts sticks. Use it to stick cables under your desk, keep rugs and tablescloths in place or mount objects to walls. It sticks to smooth surfaces, and peels off without a trace. Effective even in small amounts, it’s washable and comes in a bamboo pouch for easy storage.