Buying less and making the most of what you already have through repairing, reusing and upcycling is a simple way to save money and give worn-out items a new lease of life.
Inspired by Keep Britain Tidy's 'Buy Nothing New Month', we challenge YOU to make this your BIGGEST year of saving more and wasting less yet! And The Wheel is here to help…
DID YOU KNOW that Merton has its own waste reduction and circular economy digital hub?
The Wheel (thewheelmerton.org) is an online directory of local reuse and repair networks, organisations, businesses and events. The Wheel also runs a Repair Cafe and has worked with, and supported, a number of local groups, including SwopItUp, Little A.R.K and Bee Creative Arts, to bring to Merton residents a variety of community events, such as clothes swaps, social sewing workshops and a community upcycling project at Canons House, Mitcham.
The Wheel is here to join the dots and signpost people to the many local circular and waste reduction initiatives, projects and groups already operating in Merton yet which many people in the community don’t even know exist. It's a simple solution that will have a big impact.
THE STORY SO FAR...
MERTON’S FIRST REPAIR CAFE
Back in September 2022, The Wheel held the first Repair Cafe in Merton at Canons House, a beautiful, grade II listed building in Mitcham.
The Repair Cafe is a welcoming space where everyone can come along (for FREE) and learn how to repair textiles, furniture, bikes, non-electricals, tech and small electrical or mechanical items. You’ll find friendly volunteer Repairers who will be on hand to help and basic tools and materials for your repairs will be provided, along with refreshments. It’s all about having fun with fixing!
The first event was a great success and everyone left with a smile on their face. The fixers and volunteer Repairers repaired a toaster, sewing machine, mini desk alarm clocks, a black tie dress and a bag purse. In doing so, according to the Restart project's fixometer, 14kg of waste and 54kg of CO2 (the same amount of emissions as watching 94 hours of TV!) was saved. Fixers were also given ideas on how to upcycle a broken chair into a cool stool and some handy DIY pointers to fix headphones and a table lamp.
** COME ALONG TO THE NEXT REPAIR CAFE! **
If you want to save some money by getting things repaired for free and make new friends in the community, be sure to join the next one on Saturday 28 January, 1 - 4pm at Canons House, Mitcham.
CANONS HOUSE COMMUNITY UPCYCLING PROJECT
After a massive National Lottery Heritage funded makeover that was completed last year, Canons House, Mitcham, was still bare and in need of furniture and other bits and bobs to make it come alive from the inside. The Wheel, with the help of the Canons House staff, empowered local groups Little A.R.K and Bee Creative Arts and the local community, regardless of their upcycling abilities, to make this happen. The Dons Local Action Group’s furniture repairer also helped out. Truly a team effort!
Together, in just 6 weeks, they transformed and upcycled wood, metal, fabric, paper, paint and other secondhand materials that may have otherwise ended up going to waste to create unique pieces - lampshades, coat stand, footstool, cushions, corner table and much more - that add to beauty and essence of Canons House. Leftover scrap fabric was used to make reusable bags and draught excluders for visitors.
A study by the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) states that the carbon footprint of a new, upholstered footstool is around 17kg CO2 equivalent. That is nearly the same as travelling 85-100 miles in a petrol Ford Fiesta! Imagine the amount of carbon savings from upcycling all of the above items. Pretty impressive, right?
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE WHEEL?
Going forward, The Wheel will be working with small, local businesses to help them to become more resource efficient. A pilot project with Morden high street will include businesses switching to reusable bags made by local residents from unwanted textiles.
Other plans include helping community venues to reuse and recycle more by connecting them with people who can repair and upcycle furniture and fabric for them.
“It is about building the infrastructure to support small businesses and community ventures. Often, they have the willingness but not the resources and get left behind.”
- Ramya Venkataraman, The Wheel Project Manager
Feeling inspired to buy less and repair more?
Visit thewheelmerton.org to get started!
Got a question?
Contact Ramya at firstname.lastname@example.org