Greater Manchester calls for a repair revolution

Greater Manchester is marking Repair Week 2024 (11-17 March 2024) with a rallying call for a ‘repair revolution’, as an eye-opening new survey reveals that more than £1.2bn is potentially lost every year in the city-region by throwing away and replacing household items that could be repaired.

Research commissioned by Recycle for Greater Manchester (R4GM) appeared to find that last year Greater Manchester residents threw away an estimated £417 million* worth of such items. A further £809 million* was then spent on replacing the damaged or broken items.

The figures show that, on average, residents have five broken or damaged household items that they believe could be repaired. The most common things reportedly thrown away are clothes, kettles, hairdryers, headphones and toasters.

Through a series of events and workshops across Greater Manchester this week (11-17 March), R4GM will be attempting to shine a spotlight on the impact of waste, with the aim to empower residents to learn how they can save money – and protect the environment – by repairing items. A number of community organisations working across the city-region will be showcasing their work in supporting residents to repair too.

Repair Week aims to tackle the financial and environmental impacts of this waste head-on, and highlight the ways that people across Greater Manchester can repair items or pass them on to be rehomed and resold.

Cllr Tom Ross, GMCA’s lead for the Green City-Region and Waste and Recycling, said:

“Greater Manchester is home to so many repair heroes, and we’re proud to shine a spotlight on the brilliant work they do. I’m delighted to see community groups from across the city-region getting involved with Repair Week to inspire residents to keep their household items in use for as long as possible, and to demonstrate the many options for repair on peoples’ doorsteps.

“We all find it frustrating when some of the goods we buy cost more to repair than replace – but there are so many household items that can be given a new lease of life at low cost. That’s why, through fantastic resources like the Renew Hub and Renew Shops, we want to support people to learn how to save money, or get a bargain on good-quality items that have been repaired, especially during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

“I hope that this year’s Repair Week can kickstart a repair revolution in Greater Manchester that will not just save people money, but also help us cut down on what we throw away and protect the environment. It’s a great way for residents to get in touch with repair events in their local area.”

This year, Repair Week offers residents the chance to speak to repair and reuse experts at the Renew Hub in Trafford, and to see what goes in to repairing common household items such as bikes, electricals, upholstery and more.

As well as workshops and other repair sessions, there are a number of free videos on the Recycle for Greater Manchester website offering practical guidance for repairing many household items.

A list of the activities and events taking place, including at the Renew Hub, can be found here.

* Extrapolations of the data to represent the whole of Greater Manchester for value of damaged or broken item(s) which could have been repaired. The data was weighted to 2021 ONS Midyear estimates, 18 + population figures for Greater Manchester:2,215,143.