Share + repair = care. Recoding reuse and establishing dematerialization practices by design

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Kalantidou, Eleni
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Katharine Thornton
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Adelaide, SA, Australia

The waste management discourse has been at the epicenter of sustainable studies for decades and habitual redirection regarding the disposal of reusable materials has been addressed and studied extensively. Nevertheless, by placing great deal of weight on recycling and upcycling, dematerialization activities such as sharing and repairing have rarely been chosen as approaches so as to redirect people's perception of what is waste and most importantly disengage them from the perpetuation of the production consumption-waste cycle. The lack of research evidence in relation to the potential of repair and share to redefine waste became the main instigator for the design and realization of a funded research project titled 'Handled With Care: Developing The Paradigm Of A Culture Of Repair And Share in Brisbane, Australia'. In contrast to existing approaches that support instrumental models of behavioral modification concerning waste, this project's objective was to re-introduce repair and reinforce the adoption of sharing by recognizing their capability to transform users' ontologies; to re-evaluate and re-code the practice of everyday life by promoting the importance of holding on to something by repairing it (material longevity) and simultaneously letting it go by sharing it (material detachment). To achieve this, an online map was designed and incorporated in a digital platform, which depicts the existing community of repairers and sharers who are located in the central suburbs of Brisbane. Businesses and organizations, exchange of users' experiences, ideas, articles and events linked to repair and share, were made available to the public via digital tools (a digital platform and an App, which include the map and a complimentary blog). This paper discusses the conceptual framework, methodological processes and findings of the project. Apropos of the method, the author used a descriptive case study design to detect and report on the existing repair businesses and repair organizations. The outcomes presented, expose a progressively growing community of skillful craftspeople and indicate alternative modes of approaching 'waste'; they additionally uncover the prospect of the expansion of this project with additions of more suburbs to the existing map, the implementation of the process to other Australian cities, and the creation of satellite events, such as workshops and exhibitions. Finally, the paper examines the implications of the breaker and the broken and the shift to more dematerialized lifestyles that ontologically will design the possibility of a new, antiwasteful, psychology.

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Unmaking Waste 2015 Conference Proceedings: Transforming Production and Consumption in Time and Place
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