The Big Repair Project: Mobilising the General Public for a Circular Economy

Wednesday 14th September 2022

Theatre :  Sustainability and Circular Economy 

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We have launched the Big Repair Project to study the lifetime of appliances and electronics in peoples’ lives.

The Institute of Making, under the leadership of Professor Mark Miodownik, is conducting research on the societal aspects of metals within a circular economy, specifically looking at consumer engagement with repair and recycling. Since the middle of the 20th century, we have seen a dramatic decline in the repair and recycling of household objects. The research will:

  • Collect and analyse public attitudes and behaviours to reuse, repair and recycling of household goods containing stocks of steel and aluminium using a citizen science approach.
  • Analyse the data on reuse, repair and recycling to calculate impact on steel and aluminium circularity as well as net zero targets.
  • Work with partners and stakeholders to formulate policy recommendations to increase these behaviours.
  • Lead the public engagement on Materials & Society for the Centre and contribute to the work by the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Hub (CE-Hub) and other circular economy centres.

The research will become public champions for circular metals through maintaining a strong media and online presence, as well as having an educational and policy outlook. It will inform public debate and supply new data and insights into public discourse on the vital role of metals in society. The research will not just lead to systems change, but a fundamental change of public attitudes to tackling waste and the resulting environmental pollution. This will be achieved through the creation of media programmes, articles, research papers, public events, citizen science, teaching resources and policy interventions.

Mark MiodownikMark Miodownik Professor of Materials & Society
University College London

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