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Centre_for_Sustainable_DesignPeople who volunteer at a Repair Café are most strongly motivated to take part because of what they can do for others. They want to help other people live more sustainably, to provide a valuable service to the community and to help improve product reparability and longevity. This is revealed by research, recently undertaken by The Centre for Sustainable Design in Farnham, UK.

Professor Martin Charter and Scott Keiller asked 158 people, who participate in 144 Repair Cafés in eight countries around the world, about their motivation. They presented the interim result of their research at a recent workshop around circular economy and grassroots innovations.

Scott Keiller said to the Repair Café Foundation he was surprised at the motivations of Repair Café volunteers. “Repair Cafés seem to be all about giving, not about getting something for oneself.”

Planned obsolescence
In the survey the volunteers were also asked about the concept of planned obsolescence, the idea that manufacturers purposely make products that break down easily. The Repair Café volunteers appear to consider this ‘in-built obsolescence’ a real issue, across a wide range of electrical and electronic items, mostly printers and electrical tools. One of the reasons why people join local Repair Cafés is that they want something to be done about this.

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