Portsmouth repair cafe boss protests in Brussels for EU to enforce more user-repairable phones

AN ENVIRONMENTAL campaigner has been putting pressure on the European Union to change the way we see our broken electronics.
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Portsmouth mum Clare Seek, who spearheaded the establishment of Portsmouth Repair Cafe in 2018, recently travelled to Brussels to raise awareness of fixable possessions being needlessly thrown away.

Known as Fixfest 2022, the event she attended was a global gathering of people who involved in community repair.

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Clare Seek (left) at the Fixfest 2022 protest in Brussels, BelgiumClare Seek (left) at the Fixfest 2022 protest in Brussels, Belgium
Clare Seek (left) at the Fixfest 2022 protest in Brussels, Belgium
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Clare was the only Portsmouth representative at the event, but joined like-minded campaigners from all corners of the globe – including other UK-based repair cafes.

Roughly 150 people took to the streets for the protest, calling upon the European Union to create more robust legislation, particularly around electronic devices.

Clare said: ‘Across the world we're all facing the same problems when it comes to repairing the things that we supposedly own.

‘Portsmouth Repair Cafe fixers face the same challenges that are faced by fixers in Belgium, Spain, Germany, Uganda, Argentina, the US and so on.

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‘It has been great to gather together to continue to call for policy changes to make sure that we stop throw-away electronics.’

One of the main objectives being pushed for at Fixfest was for regulations around sustainably designing smartphones and tablets, with additional legislation with the potential of making all batteries in our devices user-replaceable.

This, they say, would prevent people from throwing away phones and laptops when the battery dies, and simply replacing that rather than the device wholesale.

The Portsmouth campaigner added that while some may think EU policies won’t make a difference in the UK following Brexit, protesters believe big corporations will be selling the same products to both the UK and the EU.

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‘We want to keep pushing for user-removability and replaceability of batteries,’ said Clare.

‘Easily removable and replaceable batteries in the EU would enable us to save resources, reduce emissions and save consumers money in the current cost of living crisis.

‘Our planet is on fire and we can't afford to waste any more time.’

Fixfest was also full of stories about how community repair goes further than just helping us financially and environmentally, but also builds community, connects people, helps with wellbeing and so much more.

The next Portsmouth Repair Cafe event will be on Saturday, October 15 at Buckland United Reform Church.