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Repairs Hit the Road

A waste management company wants to help you repair your electronics

A mobile repair and reuse project will be hitting the road this summer and Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) wants you to give it a name.

The customized van will be traveling the county supporting Somerset’s network of repair groups and cafes in their work to fix all things electrical. "From toasters to tablets, record players to remote controls – if it has a plug or takes batteries, this project is about giving it a new lease of life when it stops working," reads the group's February 10 post on its website.

Providing practical help, useful tools and a PAT testing service, the van will encourage people to get things fixed and reused rather than throw them away or recycle them. The van will also visit events, schools and businesses to provide hands-on help, training and promote the repair and reuse of electricals and electronics.

Most likely to be a transit-sized van, the vehicle has not yet been named and SWP is asking the public to come up with something catchy.

Suggestions can be made through the @somersetwaste Facebook and Twitter accounts or a simple online survey. Please submit ideas before 9am on Monday 21 February. SWP will shortlist the best suggestions and put them to a public vote.

The van will be dedicated to repairing electricals and electronics in its first year. However, if successful, SWP will consider ways of extending the project and broadening its remit to supporting the wider world of repair and reuse. So, the successful name needs to be something that could work for general repair and reuse as well as electricals and electronics.

Councilor Sarah Dyke, Chair of the Somerset Waste Board, said: “When something electrical stops working, all too often our immediate response it to throw it away or get it recycled.

“That’s not sustainable. This is about SWP harnessing and supporting the skills and enthusiasm that’s out to try and make electrical repair and reuse part of everyone’s routine.”

The grant-funded initiative is also working with local business Donate-IT CIC. It refurbishes laptops, tablets and phones and distributes them to families who need them.

The van will have a collection point for these items and Donate-IT will securely data wipe donations. The Somerset project is one of three being funded by this year’s Ecosurety Exploration Fund which supports innovative approaches to reducing the environmental impact of packaging, batteries or electrical items. The project is being led by Resource Futures, in partnership with SWP and Donate-IT.

The repair van driver role is currently being advertised Community Repair Coordinator – Somerset | Resource Futures.

Closing date for applications is Tuesday, February 22, at 9 AM. Interviews will take place in the week commencing February 28th.

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