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Making Things Last - A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland

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4. Repair

4.1 Our ambition

When a product develops a fault, we want repair to be the first choice, on the basis of convenience and value. We want businesses to design products which are easier and cost-effective to repair, to expand the range of repair services they offer and to encourage reparability in procurement decisions. We want to empower the growth of the repair sector - commercial, third sector and individuals - and increase the number of people with the necessary repair skills.

4.2 Context

Repair is an area that brings together the innovation of a more circular economy with the established repair and maintenance services that have been commonplace in many industrial sectors and communities across Scotland.

The provision of repair services can add value to a business' customer offer, whilst allowing them to reduce material and other input costs, gaining greater value from and control over their own materials and products.

In recent years a combination of pace of technological change, cheaper products, and a lack of information and confidence in how to repair complex products has led to a decrease in repair.

We have a suite of measures already in place to support behaviour change in communities, including Zero Waste Scotland's Volunteer and Community Advocate Programme which encourages reuse and repair; grants for repair training in reuse; and development of certified repair training.

4.3 Our priorities

For consumers, we will explore the potential for a comprehensive repair-finding service or network to make it easy to find where items can be repaired.

We will continue to provide opportunities to increase the repair skills of the third sector and householders through training and self-repair workshops and infrastructure.

We will support businesses and the third sector to identify the circular practices that offer most value including repair opportunities to help them reduce material and other costs.

As mentioned in our priorities for design, we recognise the potential for public procurement to support the development of a circular economy, and will explore opportunities within procurement to encourage greater levels of repair and reparability.

We will also work to influence EU decisions on a design of products including for repair.

Edinburgh Tool Library

How often do you use the drill, power-saw or sander that sits in your shed or DIY cupboard? Or how often have you need a tool that you don't have, but don't want to splash out and buy one? If tool-sharing libraries were commonplace, you wouldn't have to.

It is estimated that the average drill is only used for about 13 minutes in its lifetime. With all the valuable resources that go into it, it's a waste that it is idle for so long.

Sharing tools helps reduce the environmental impact of making them and it also helps people save on the costs of buying them.

The Edinburgh Tool Library is the UK's first tool library, promoting sharing as a way of reducing our environmental impact and saving people money.

Members can borrow tools for DIY, gardening, decorating and machine repair

Chris Hellawell of The Edinburgh Tool Library, explains, "Combine the cost to your pocket to the environmental cost of tool manufacture and you wonder why most of us have tools at all.

"But what if, instead of owning tools, we could just borrow them from an organisation as and when we needed them, getting all the benefits without the headaches, a bit like a library but with tools. By sharing resources like this we reduce our environmental impact and allow the tools to fulfil their potential by doing what they do for more of the time."

Edinburgh Tool Library