Taster #5 – “Why Throw It Away?

A key concept in David Fleming’s thought is the ‘closed-loop system’:

“Closed-loop systems are systems or communities that have worked out how, collectively, to reuse most of their materials. For a natural ecology, this is routine – a necessary condition for its existence. But in an open system such as a market economy, this condition is absent. For a community intent on a degree of eco-independence, the closed-loop system is a necessity; in a sense the definition of what it is aiming to do.” (from Lean Logic)

So it was a real delight to visit the Nailsworth Repair Cafe this week, where volunteers inspired by his work invite people to bring in their broken things and get them fixed for free. The initiative is part of Transition Stroud and, as you’ll see, behind every broken object was a very human story.

It was inspiring to see the practical skills and relationships by which communities can recover and repair the things we need being utilised and shared, as well as the obvious benefits of keeping useful objects out of landfill.

“The Transition movement is part of a convergence of thinking towards the principle that, if areas and communities are to be prepared for the shocks of energy, climate, economics and society, it will not be government and regulatory agencies that do it. It will be something they do for themselves … The solutions they employ depend on the efficiencies and reciprocities made available on the small scale.” (from Lean Logic)

Do let us know in the comments below what you think about these tasters and the issues they raise. The first four tasters have now been viewed over 2 million times, so there’s obviously something about David’s message that’s really resonating for people!

Between all the filming, editing etc we’re reading through all the comments and hearing some great new ideas. Apologies that the sheer number has made it impossible to reply to everyone, but rest assured that we’re thrilled and reading with great interest. If anyone would like to volunteer as our ‘social media manager’ and help us deal with the flood of interest, we’d love to hear from you too!

Tomorrow I head down to the wonderful Schumacher College again where the economist Kate Raworth will be teaching, to get her thoughts both on David Fleming’s Lean Logic (which she named her Book of the Year for The Times) and on how its message chimes with her own widely-praised book, Doughnut Economics.

20 Responses to “Taster #5 – “Why Throw It Away?”

  1. Sue Bender Vander Beek Says:

    Wonderful….I like the agency of it all…and I especially appreciate the passing o of this creativity to children.

  2. Rick Pitts Says:

    I dream a day of a day gone by , where the 60s mid-west organic food culture and the Spirit if Communal living will come back around to Hay-Day w Eclipse of Love w Free Spirit Free giving w regards to Caf’e /Co-Op , merging together w fix & feed together spirit qualities , for health and happiness and sleep * Love n Respect / Respect n Love train togethet *

  3. Kevin Warren Says:

    May the Repair Cafes movement take over the world – sending everyone involved much love and respect

  4. Ramon Cortabitarte Says:

    I love this idea and wish there was a place like this in Madrid. Inspiring with such a sense of purpose and community. Education and setting up the chance to teach others how to ‘do things’ instead of just getting rid of it. Repurposing and allowing goods to be shared and thus allowing the cycle to continue and not end at the landfill.

  5. Deepa Natarajan Says:

    The idea of throw away is pretty new in India, for instance. And repair culture is slowly fading: I miss it sorely …

  6. AAmoha Didi Says:

    there’s one in minneapolis…..this is great!

  7. Tom Casper Says:

    There is no away!

  8. Paulette Waller Rodriguez Says:

    I want to work here!

  9. Kim Holcroft Says:

    We have one in our town. It’s associated with the local ‘Mens Shed’ group. A $5 donation and they’ll fix what ever you bring in. Then you can buy lunch for $5 and sit with others from the community while your stuff is fixed. Awesome work and it’s held every week at the local community centre. Win win all round.

  10. Charulata Savala Says:

    In#India, we have this one whole business of repairing, which is a means of livelihood for many.
    Any damn thing on the earth can be fixed.
    We have experts.
    The electronic items are refurbished n resold at a low cost.
    Can you imagine a broken denture, also has been fixed.
    Mobile phones, shoes accessories clothes, bags, everything can be fixed.
    You will find people with sewing machines in shops, who do this repairing work.
    We in#India try to avoid the
    Use n throw theory.

  11. Ian Ripper Says:

    Great clip. We have a fleet of bikes for our holiday guests all from the tip, plus 2 good mowers, skateboards and much of the fixtures and fittings in our explode. Even the door knobs are from old bulbs.

  12. Clive Warren Wells Says:

    Have yet to purchase a bike since we came to the US. All obtained from the kerbside, being thrown away for simple things like punctures or a missing spoke.

  13. James Belmont Says:

    This is part of an evolutionary that been up till now taken out of the equation by mass production and mass throw away in so much of the world.
    I live in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Would love to know & see a Fixing Cafe in this area.

  14. Katy Anne Nicol Says:

    Does anyone know when the next Nailsworth Repair cafe is?

  15. Florence Miller Says:

    Great video! Where was this particular repair cafe? Cambridge Carbon Footprint I thought you might like to see this.

  16. Stan Roose Says:

    Sounds like something I could do

  17. Clive Handy Says:

    Farnham Repair Cafe

  18. Cassia Mortivaux Says:

    Can we have a national map showing where they are located please?

  19. Shaun Chamberlin Says:

    @Cassia Mortivaux. How about a global one? 🙂 https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/

  20. Diane Boyd Says:

    I have taken this original idea ( repair cafe) and started an intergenerational sustainable skill cafe trial in Liverpool bringing the elderly to a children and family centre to teach skills ( to families and young children 2-4) we as a society are divorcing ourselves from,such a sewing buttons on rather than throwing the whole shirt away , knitting, traditional cooking like scouse all with an education for sustainability focus .

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