We have launched the Big Repair Project to study the lifetime of appliances and electronics in peoples’ lives. Currently repair is on the decline in many economies which is accelerating climate change and producing mountains of waste. We need to urgently reverse this trend to design for repair and make appliances and electronics to last much longer, eg. smartphone to last 10 years, washing machines 30 years. This change will be as much social, cultural and economic as it is technological. The Big Repair Project allows citizens to get involved in how they want this change to happen. Get involved here.
I gave evidence to the UK Parliament’s EFRA Select Committee on Plastic Waste. See the video here.
A video to inspire primary school kids
The latest research paper from my group’s work designing out plastic waste. Working with the Woodland Trust we analysed the environmental impact of plastic tree guards using a Life Cycle Assessment technique. Our conclusion is that in most cases continuous planting using no tree guards is the best option to reduce plastic waste while still obtaining the benefits of carbon sequestration from increased tree cover. Biodegradable plastic tree guards are not at present a good option. Full paper here, contact me if you need a copy. We discussed the implications of our findings on BBC Radio’s Inside Science listen again here.
This week I’m presenting a new BBC Radio 4 series: Dare to Repair. The series examines the repair of household goods in a 21st century world of fast-fashion, disposible electronics, and made-to-break appliances. With UK and EU Right-to-Repair legislation set to change the rights of citizens to access and carry out repairs on some household appliances, this series asks how we got in such a state of dis-repair, what happened to our skills at repairing, and what citizens, retailers, and manufacturers can do to change – would you dare to repair?! This series also launches our work on a new 3-year research project, as partners in The Interdisciplinary Centre for Circular Metal.
I joined physicist Brian Cox, comedian Robin Ince, comedian Katy Brand, author and food critic Grace Dent, and the legendary Harold McGee, to record an episode of the Infinite Monkey Cage discussing whether cooking is just chemistry or whether a truly delicious dinner is an art.