#29 A Culture of Repair

How can repair bring about sustainability?

Inspired by living in a household in Nepal which created less than a dustbin of rubbish in a year, Sophie Unwin returned to her native Brixton to co-found Remade in Brixton and then moved to Scotland and founded Remade in Edinburgh, a social enterprise which teaches repair skills and campaigns for zero waste.

Both social enterprises are rooted in their local communities and the product of many others talented people’s hard work. Sophie has a master’s degree in sustainable development from charity Forum for the Future and has also worked as a journalist, waste campaigner, business consultant, medical secretary, receptionist and doing telesales.

Sophie Unwin for Sustainable : The Podcast

Business Model

Remade in Edinburgh teaches computer repair, sewing and mending and furniture repair to help generate different income sources for business. They also repair and refurbish computers and furniture. The commitment is to making the services affordable and servicing thrown out or soon to be thrown out stuff, specifically computers and furniture and making them re-usable again.

Remade in Edinburgh runs courses to different groups – from individuals to organisations.  Their prices vary per audience and according to people’s budgets.

Most people who go for servicing the laptop are told a prohibitive price or told to upgrade. With Remade in Edinburgh, repair is the ultimate solution as opposed to buying and Sophie’s team has had a whopping 99% success rate so far in repairing laptops.

Going by experience, most laptops need simple fixes that not only repairs the devices but also makes them last for another 3-4 years.

Statistics reveal that repair creates 10 times as many jobs as recycling. Remade in Edinburgh itself is a proof of this, having gone from a 3-man to a 10-man organization in the last year.

The Remade in Edinburgh is a replicable business model. It is built on the idea of a circular economy and creates jobs for the local community.

We’re not saying it has to be behaviour change, we’re saying it has to be culture change. We need to change the whole way we structure things to make it possible to be able to repair rather than to making it the last resort. Let’s make it the first resort.Sophie Unwin

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