We live in a society ruled by a throw-away culture. Everything is so accessible for us now, available at just the click of a button. Despite making good progress on the recycling front, we still over-consume and excessively product short-lived or disposable items over durable goods that could be repaired instead of replaced.
This way of living is called a ‘linear economy’ – a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production. We take raw materials to make a product, the product is then used and then the product is thrown away. About one-third of waste is made up of packaging material and each year, the average American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic waste that could be composted. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to see the impact that this linear economy is having on our global waste management.
The circular economy
As the world gradually works to take on a more sustainable way of living, many are looking instead to a ‘circular economy’. In basic terms, a circular economy refers to a regenerative system in which long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing and recycling all help to achieve a sustainable world. Whereas in a linear economy, the process is to product, use and throw away, a circular economy focuses on regenerating natural systems and keeping products and materials in use, whilst designing out waste and pollution.
An integral component of the circular economy is extending a product’s lifecycle and squeezing every drop of value out of our products before throwing them away. Repairing rejuvenates products and enhances their quality, in turn minimising waste.
Spare parts & 3D printing
Whether it’s a bike, car, washing machine or a television – when they break, many would never consider repairing instead of replacing. In many cases, especially for older, antique or limited types of equipment, the parts you need in order to repair cannot be found through traditional repair services, or may be expensive or scarce. Or maybe, it just sounds too much like hard work…
3D printing is something that has really changed the game when it comes to the circular economy, named in the press as the potential locomotive of the ‘Second Industrial Revolution’. Put simply, it is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of material in succession.
What does this mean for the average joe and his broken washing machine? It means that with 3D printing, we now have access to once unavailable and obsolete parts that were previously impossible to get hold of, all with limited waste and without the endless search for the source. The useful life of a machine should not be dictated by the availability of a part. Buy Any Part believe that people have the right to repair their products and machines, and work hard to create solutions for even the most difficult of repair tasks. Their online platform gathers buyers and sellers in their repair specific marketplace to make repairing easier than ever, with a huge range of parts for almost anything and everything.