As designers, we lend our creativity and knowledge to bring our clients' business ideas to life. It is not just a great experience for both parties, but also a tremendous commitment, especially when there is a significant chance of making a real impact on the world through the production of goods. The increasing awareness of environmental threats is slowly (perhaps too slowly) permeating consumer reality and shaping it.



One example of this phenomenon is the introduction of the "Right to Repair" by the European Union last year. This directive brings changes to the way manufacturers approach their already sold products. The aim is to increase the durability of devices and reduce waste by imposing an obligation on manufacturers to provide necessary information, tools, and spare parts for the repair of their distributed products. This way, consumers can repair their devices instead of buying new ones. The directive particularly applies to household appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators, TVs, laptops, and phones.



Interestingly, in this case, EU legislation follows grassroots social movements. One of the associations working for consumers' right to fixing is "Right to Repair". The organization collaborates with independent repair workshops and other pro-environmental movements to ensure easy access to spare parts and information needed for repairing their devices. Additionally, an important part of their activities is raising awareness of the need for legal guarantees for the right to repair. While repairing one's own product is not illegal, there are no legal frameworks guaranteeing that it is possible. As the foundation states on their website, unfortunately, it cannot be expected that the market will solve this problem on its own. If it is more profitable for manufacturers to sell new products than to facilitate repair, only legislation can guarantee access to necessary knowledge and parts.



Another example is the German organization "Runder Tisch Reparatur" which aims to promote a repair culture and sustainable consumer practices. One of Runder Tisch Reparatur's key initiatives is the annual Repair Day (Reparatur Tag), a nationwide event in Germany that promotes repair and product maintenance. The event attracts experts and enthusiasts while promoting more responsible consumer practices. Runder Tisch Reparatur strives to build a more sustainable and resilient economy where products are designed to last longer through repairability.




The Restart Project, a British nonprofit organization, is yet another example. They focus on promoting a circular economy by advocating for the repair and maintenance of electronic devices rather than their disposal. The foundation encourages individuals to repair electronics themselves and organizes open repair events and workshops where volunteers help others fix their devices. The Restart Project also works to raise awareness about the environmental impact of electronic waste and advocates for policies that promote sustainable consumption and production practices. They also engage in advocacy and research to promote more repairable and easier-to-repair products, collaborating with other organizations and policymakers to promote the right to repair.


These efforts to bring systemic changes in the current economy align with the European Union's planned transition to a circular model by 2050. A circular economy, also known as a closed-loop system, is a model of production and consumption based on sharing, borrowing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. This extends the life cycle of products and, in practice, minimizes waste. When a product reaches the end of its life cycle, the resources and waste it generates should remain in the economy through recycling. They can be successfully reused, creating additional value.



There are also a growing number of consumer electronics manufacturers that base their business models on facilitated reparability. For example, Fairphone, which produces smartphones. Fairphone designs its phones so that their individual components (e.g. screen, battery, camera, etc.) are easily replaceable through the use of interchangeable modules. This also allows for easy expansion of the phone's functionality, for example, users can replace the camera module to get better quality photos, or the battery module to extend its battery life. Modularity makes Fairphone's products more sustainable and environmentally friendly, as users don't have to buy new phones because of broken individual components or missing features. This manufacturer also uses materials with less environmental impact and works toward sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. This contributes to reducing the negative impact of electronics manufacturing on the environment and people.



The mentioned organizations are just a few examples of a vast network of various associations and foundations focused on promoting repair culture. This shows that many people are willing to dedicate their time and resources to prolonging the life of the objects they already own.

Looking at phenomena such as the EU's right to repair legislation or the activities of Runder Tisch Reparatur, it can be noticed that many consumers have a need to expand the options they have when it comes to taking care of their belongings. Regardless of whether these needs stem from economic motivations or emotional attachment to the object, it is certain that they can be a step towards a more sustainable economy that has a lesser negative impact on the natural environment.



Anita Rogoża
Designer & Researcher


Also check
Let's talk

Schedule an initial talk and get to know us better! You already have a basic brief? Send it over so we can have a more productive first meeting!

Contact us
Set up
a meeting

This site gathers statistical data in order to enhance user experience and to improve the content we deliver. We never store any of your personal data. You can read more in our Privacy Policy.