It’s a sad fact that after Christmas, the e-waste bins in our local recycling centres are piled high with unwanted electrical and electronics goods.

Shockingly, more than a third of these items are likely to be in perfect working condition, with another chunk requiring only minor repairs (evidenced by research carried out by The Restart Project in 2023)

E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream globally, with the UK on track to becoming the highest producer per head globally this year, at 23.9kg per capita.

My new year’s resolution therefore is: Don’t despair… care and repair!

In Camden, help is at hand from the amazing Camden Fixing Factory (  based in Queens Crescent.

Manager Dermot Jones tells me: “A Fixing Factory is a community repair hub where we develop fixing skills around electrical and electronic household items – ‘from hair dryer to air fryer’ – with a side line in laptop repair. It’s largely volunteer driven.

Ham & High: Debbie Bourne encourages residents not to throw away their slightly damaged electrical goodsDebbie Bourne encourages residents not to throw away their slightly damaged electrical goods (Image: Debbie Bourne)

"In 2023, we had a number of ground-breaking projects including our ‘Five Weeks of Fixing’ where, armed with boxes of broken appliances, tools, and an expert fixer, we worked with Camden residents to give people the chance to try their hand at fixing!

“In 2024, we are extremely excited to launch our ‘Fixperience’ workshops," Dermot continues to tell me. “This will be an opportunity for anyone to dip their toes into electrical and electronics repairs and pick up valuable fixing skills in bite-sized and affordable sessions. We will also soon be launching the retail side of our operation, where items we’ve rescued and refurbished will be available for sale."

So come on Camdeners, join in the with this fantastic repair revolution. Take any items you would like to get fixed along to Queens Crescent on a Thursday morning or join in the Tuesday night Repair Club.

To tackle the climate emergency here in Camden, Fixing Factories must play a key role in the reuse, repair and refurbishing of our e-goods. Beyond the actual physical work done – once you’ve been involved in opening and fixing something you’ll never look at a broken item the same way again!

Says Dermot: “We’re a long way from an ideal ‘closed loop’ economy where a toaster lasts forever with regular maintenance. This would need manufacturers to buy into this concept and design their products for longevity. But we can keep items circulating for much longer by applying just a small amount of care and repair. “

  • Debbie Bourne is an Think&DoCamden activator and author of The High-Heeled Gardener.