Increasing repair of household appliances, mobile phones and clothing: Experiences from consumers and the repair industry

Kirsi Laitala, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Vilde Haugrønning, Harald Throne-Holst & Pål Strandbakken

Abstract

Increasing product lifespans is one of the most effective environmental strategies and therefore repair is a part of the circular economy approach that aims to keep products and materials longer in use. This article explores drivers and barriers for repair from consumers’ and commercial repair actors view-points, in order to understand how the repair rates of household appliances, mobile phones and clothing could be increased.

The study is based on a consumer survey of 1196 respondents in Norway, and 15qualitative interviews with actors in the commercial repair industry working with repairs of household consumer goods. A surprisingly high share of repairs was conducted by consumers themselves. The main barrier is the consistently low price of new products, and often of poor quality, which contributes to low profitability in repair work for businesses and low motivation from consumers. Furthermore, access to competent personnel is a major challenge for the repair industry, a need which is expected to increase in the coming years.

Both the industry and consumers agree that better quality of products is a starting point for increased product lifespans, and this will also increase the motivation and the number of profitable repairs. These results have political implications on how to promote longer product lifespans through repair such as increased utilization and knowledge of consumers’ complaint and warranty rights.

Click here to read the full article (sciencedirect.com).

Klær og miljø: Innkjøp, gjenbruk og vask

Sammendrag

Rapporten diskuterer klesanskaffelser og vedlikehold i dagens Norge basert på en spørreundersøkelse om bærekraftig forbruk. Respondentene rapporterte at de hadde anskaffet i gjennomsnitt 23,5 plagg i løpet av det siste året. De yngste mennene 18-19 år og alle kvinner frem til 59 år anskaffer like mye klær. Menn anskaffer færre ettersom de ble eldre og de eldste over 60 år anskaffer minst. Kvinner derimot holder samme nivået, 28-29 plagg uavhengig av alder frem til den eldste aldersgruppen. Kvinnene over 60 år anskaffer noe mindre (totalt 20 plagg). De aller fleste (20,2 av 23,5) plagg kjøpes nye. Dette tilsvarer 86% av klærne. Det nest vanligste måten å skaffe klær er å få de som gaver med 2 plagg per person.

I gjennomsnitt er det mindre enn ett plagg per person som er kjøpt brukt (0,6), og tilsvarende mindre enn ett plagg som er arvet (0,7). Totalt utgjør dette 1,3 gjenbrukte plagg per respondent per år.De unge kvinnene mellom 18 og 29 år anskaffet størst andel av gjenbrukte klærne med 12%.Klesvask har stor påvirkning på miljøbelastning og utgjør en vesentlig faktor for klesforbrukets miljøbelastning totalt sett. Ikke overaskende og helt i tråd med tidligere undersøkelser vaskes det kroppsnære plagget trøye, oftere enn gensere, og ullgensere og ulltrøyer sjeldnere enn tilsvarende plagg i bomull. Forbrukere som er opptatt av miljø vasker sitt ulltøy sjeldnere enn andre. En tilsvarende sammenheng finnes ikke for bomull.

Klikk her for å lese hele rapporten (oda.oslomet.no).

Summary

This report discusses clothing acquisition and maintenance in Norway based on a survey on sustainable consumption. Respondents reported that they had acquired an average of 23.5 garments during the past year. The youngest men (18-29 years) and all women up to age 59 purchase the same amount of clothing. Men acquire fewer as they grow older and the oldest age group over 60 years acquire the least. Women, on the other hand, hold the same level, 28-29 garments regardless of age up to the oldest age group. The women over the age of 60 purchase somewhat less (a total of 20 garments). The vast majority (20.2 out of 23.5) garments are purchased new. This corresponds to 86% of the clothes. The next most common way to get clothes is to receive them as gifts, with 2 garments per person. On average, less than one garment per person is purchased used (0.6), and correspondingly less than one garment that is received as hand-me-down (0.7). In total, this represents 1.3 second-hand garments per respondent per year. The young women between the ages of 18 and 29 acquired the largest share of reused clothing by 12%. Laundry has a major influence on environmental impact and is a significant factor for overall environmental impact of clothing consumption. Not surprisingly and completely in line with previous research, the next-to-skin garments are washed more often than sweaters, and woolen undershirts and sweaters are washed less often than similar cotton garments. Consumers concerned about the environment wash their woolen clothes less frequently than others. A similar connection does not exist for laundering frequency of cotton.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.

Leve av å reparere? En studie av økonomien i reparasjonsbransjenfor klær og hvitevarer

Vilde Haugrønning, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Pål Strandbakken, Kirsi Laitala og Harald Throne-Holst

Sammendrag

Rapporten undersøker reparasjonsbransjen for klær og hvitevarer og aktørenes synspunkter på barrierer og muligheter for utvikling av tjenestene. Det er viktig å få en bredere forståelse for hvilke muligheter og barrierer de opplever i sitt arbeid med reparasjon, fordi dette kan være en viktig del av sirkulær økonomi og bærekraftig forbruk. De aller fleste reparasjoner foregår privat, og forbrukernes holdninger er også viktige for bransjen. Derfor har vi trukket forbrukernes oppfatninger inn i analysen basert på en spørreundersøkelse. Rapporten diskuterer dermed ikke bare hva som kan styrke en bransje, men også hva som kan bidra til at flere produkter blir reparert og dermed brukes lenger.

Den første delen av rapporten er en litteraturgjennomgang. Vi presenterer tidligere studier av bransjen i Norge, samt svenske erfaringer med redusert merverdiavgift. Videre følger en analyse av 15 kvalitative intervjuer med aktører i reparasjonsbransjen, 10 innen klær og 5 innen hvitevarer. I analysen har vi også inkludert datamateriale fra spørreundersøkelsen med forbrukere. Reparasjonsbransjen er svært sammensatt og består delvis av store bedrifter hvor reparasjon er en forsvinnende liten del av deres virksomhet, og av små enmanns bedrifter hvor reparasjon kan være, men ikke alltid er en viktig del av virksomheten. Likevel er det flere likhetstrekk for hva som er barrierer og muligheter for bransjen. Blant barrierer finner vi at den gjennomgående lave prisen på produkter og lav kvalitet bidrar til liten lønnsomhet for reparasjoner, og det er svært liten betalingsvilje blant forbrukere for reparasjonstjenester. Videre er tilgangen på kompetent personale en stor utfordring, som forventes å bli større i årene fremover.

Mulighetene ligger i potensielle samarbeid mellom tilretteleggere og tilbydere for reparasjoner, og spre kunnskapom reklamasjon og rettigheter ved kjøp av varer. Både bransjen og forbrukerne er enige om at bedre kvalitet på produkter er et utgangspunkt for økt produktlevetid, og dette vil også øke antall lønnsomme reparasjoner. I tillegg ser vi også et behov for at mindre bedrifter som tilbyr tilpassede produkter og ulike tjenester som forlenger produktlevetiden, får økonomiske tilskudd slik at de blir mer rustet til å bidra i overgangen til et mer miljøvennlig forbruk.

Klikk her for å lese hele rapporten (oda.oslomet.no).

Summary

This report explores repairs services for clothing and white goods by looking at financial aspects and drivers and barriers for service development. It is important to gain a broader understanding of the drivers and barriers experienced by actors in repair work, as this can be an important part of the circular economy and more sustainable consumption. The vast majority of repairs are private, and consumer attitudes are important to this industry. Therefore, we included consumer perceptions in the analysis based on a national representative survey in Norway. The report discusses not only what can strengthen the repair industry, but also how more products can be repaired and used longer.

The first part of the report is a literature review. We present previous studies of the industry in Norway, as well as Swedish experiences with reduced value added tax. Furthermore, an analysis of 15 qualitative interviews with actors in the repair industry follows, 10 in clothing and 5 in white goods. In the analysis, we also included data from the consumer survey. The repair industry is very complex and partly consists of large companies where repair is a small part of their business, and of small one-man businesses where repair can be, but is not always, an important part of the business. Nevertheless, the barriers and facilitators for the industry are often similar. Among barriers, we find that the consistently low price of products, and low quality, contribute to low profitability in repair work, and there is very little willingness to pay among consumers for repair services. Furthermore, access to competent staff is a major challenge, which is expected to increase in the years ahead.

The drivers lie in potential collaboration between repairers and providers of repair, and dissemination about complaint and warranty rights when purchasing goods. Both the industry and consumers agree that better quality of products is a starting point for increased product lifespans, and this will also increase the number of profitable repairs. In addition, we also see a need for smaller companies that offer customized products and various services that extend their product life to receive financial grants so that they are more equipped to contribute to the transition towards more sustainable consumption.

Care and production of clothing in Norwegian homes: Environmental implications of mending and making practices

Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

Mending, re-design, and altering are alternatives for prolonging the use period of clothing. It is a common assumption that nobody mends clothing anymore in Western societies. This paper studies Norwegian consumers’ clothing mending and making practices. We ask how common the different mending and making activities are, has this changed during the past several years, who are the clothing menders and makers, and further, are these practices related to consumers environmental opinions?

We build on three quantitative surveys in Norway from 2010, 2011, and 2017. Many consumers do mend their clothing at least occasionally, especially the simpler tasks, such as sewing on a button and fixing an unravelled seam. Women and the elderly are more active in making and mending, whereas the young are a bit more likely to make something new out of old clothing. The mending activities were correlated with respondents’ environmental opinions. Mending clothes is more common than is usually assumed. Knowledge of current practices and barriers for clothing mending enables us to recommend measures that can potentially increase the use time of clothing. These results can be beneficial in clothing design, home economics, and crafts education as well as understanding consumer behavior and making policies that aim at environmental improvements within clothing consumption.

Click here to read the full article (mdpi.com).

Motivations for and against second-hand clothing acquisition

Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

One of the possibilities consumers have for more sustainable clothing acquisition is to select pre-owned products. This article explores consumers’ motivations for clothing reuse: why they choose or do not choose to acquire second-hand clothing. First, a taxonomy of motivation categories based on previous studies is presented. This demonstrates that similar properties can be used as arguments both for and against acquisition of second-hand clothing. An analysis of a representative sample of Norwegian consumers shows that both environmental and economic reasons are important for those who take part in informal clothing circulation. Uniqueness and style are more important for those who buy second-hand clothing.

Those who do not take part in any of the forms of acquisition of used clothing, use vague and open justifications, as well as contextual aspects; hygiene, health and intimacy. Previous studies have mostly been based on how clothing is reused as part of a market exchange, and therefore the motives have been embedded with a rational choice understanding of consumption. Studies of the private exchange of clothing should also address additional reasons such as routinized practices and established rituals, family ties, feelings, friendship and love. The article concludes with an invitation for further research to explore several possible motivations that are more relevant for private circulation of clothes.

Click here to read the full article (ingentaconnect.com).

Shared use and owning of clothes: borrow, steal or inherit

Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Kirsi Laitala

Abstract

This chapter takes a close look at the different forms of sharing based on empirical material on leisure clothing in Norwegian families. We ask what forms of sharing are practiced, which terms are used, and how consumers draw distinctions between them. We find that the forms are numerous and have an established place in Norwegian clothing culture. Sharing within the household, outside the pecuniary market, appears still to be the most important and also the most understudied form of sharing.

The literature about clothing consumption is increasingly about sharing, but limited to the new forms. However, sharing is a common form of human interaction, often misunderstood or overlooked. In order to understand the role of collaborative consumption in contemporary society, it is necessary to study both new and old forms of sharing. For a more systematic mapping of these forms a good place to start might be the study of relationships between access and ownership, and between different temporalities.

Click here to read the full article (springer.com).

Clothing Reuse: The Potential in Informal Exchange

Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

Reuse organised by non-profit and commercial actors is a strategy that recently received a lot of attention. This article discusses the question: what do we know about the amount of clothes that circulate outside the pecuniary markets? And is this amount increasing or declining? The questions are answered based on quantitative material from Norway. Almost twice as many had received used clothing as those who had bought used clothing, and our material do not indicate that this are declining. At the same time 59 per cent of Norwegian adults had neither received nor bought used clothing for themselves during the past two years. For children, inheritance is very common and the younger the children are, the more they inherit. The amount of the private clothing exchange is greater than the formal market in Norway. Therefore, when the goal is a more sustainable clothing consumption we need to include the parts of consumption that are not only related to money.

Click here to read the full article (oda.oslomet.no).

Reparasjon og gjenbruk i 1900-tallets håndarbeidsbøker

Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Innledning

For våre formødre utgjorde vedlikehold og reparasjoner av tekstiler en stor og tidkrevende del av husarbeidet. Tiden som har blitt brukt på dette har minket betraktelig i løpet av 1900-tallet (Avdem og Melby 1985, Hagemann & Roll-Hansen 2005, Sæbø 1986, Lingsom & Ellingsæter 1983). Fra å ha utnyttet alt til siste trevl, sies det ofte at ingen reparerer noen ting lenger. Slike absolutte påstander er sjelden riktige, og noe gjøres fortsatt, delvis på andre måter enn før (Klepp 2001 og 2002). I denne artikkelen skal vi ikke se på hva som er blitt gjort – eller gjøres, men hvordan ulike teknikker har blitt omtalt og formidlet i samtiden. Hva slags teknikker fantes på 1900-tallet for å ta vare på tekstilene, og hvordan endret de seg i dette århundret? Når skjedde disse endringene, og hva har til en vært tid vært ansett som viktig å lære bort? Kildene til å besvare disse spørsmålene er 80 håndarbeidsbøker, alt fra store oppslagsverk, til enkle mønstersamlinger. Dette er supplert med noen årganger av medlemsbladet for Husmorforbundet –, Husmoderen, Ar-beidermagasinet – senere Magasinet for alle, håndarbeidsbladet Alt om håndarbeid og Kvinner og Klær. All omtale av teknikker for reparasjon og gjenbruker er registrert og analysert ut fra spørsmålene hvordan teknikken har blitt presentert og hva hensikten har vært med dem. Analysen får dermed også frem forfatteres og utgivers holdninger til bruken av dem. Dette vil bli sett på som måter å forstå teknikkene i samtiden. Med samtiden menes her det tiåret publikasjonen ble utgitt. Analysen av håndarbeidsbøkene og bladene vil bli organisert i noen hovedtyper teknikker for å økonomisere med tekstiler. Men først vil jeg kort beskrive litt av den tekstile hverdagen bøkene og bladene ble brukt innenfor.

Klikk her for å lese hele artikkelen (dms07.dimu.org).

English summary

Reparing, patching and darning in the 20. century

The article discusses changes in the way different techniques for economising with textiles is referred to in the 20th Century. The material consists of 80 needlework books, in addition to some periodicals and ladies’ magazines. The analysis focuses when the different techniques are described relative to each other and how they are described. The described techniques include needlework for the prevention of wear and tear, different kinds of mending, recycling of textiles through re-sewing and the utilisation of rags, patches and left-over yarn. The development goes from numerous time-consuming and specialised techniques at the beginning of the century towards fewer and far simpler techniques. In the earliest period utilising everything to the last rag seems like an implied matter of course. Later this kind of work is given a moral significance, and at last it is liberated from economic as well as moral rea-sons. Technically this development is shown through a change from stressing advanced and invisible techniques which made the mended or re-sewn gar-ment as similar to the original as possible, to a stressing of the techniques’ potential for a unique aesthetical expression. The 1970s is the golden age for this kind of work, which can be explained both by “anti-fashion”, the new ideology of art education in the schools and by a growing ideology of leisure time. Towards the end of the century the techniques for economising with textiles disappear from the books of needlework. Yet in the magazines there is still a certain interest in wardrobe planning and renewal of garments.

The full article is only available in Norwegian.

Fra eggvendte laken til festlig lapp på baken

Råd og teknikker for å økonomisere med tekstiler 1900 – 2000

Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Sammendrag

Denne rapporten tar for seg endringer i omtalen av ulike teknikker for å økonomisere med tekstiler gjennom det 20.-århundre. Materialet til undersøkelsen består av 80 håndarbeidsbøker, samt noen tidsskrifter og dameblader. Analysen får frem når ulike teknikker blir beskrevet og hvordan de omtales. Teknikkene omfatter arbeid med å forebygge slitasje, ulike former for reparasjon, gjenbruk i form av omsøm og utnyttelse avfiller, lapper og garnrester.

Utviklingen går fra et mangfold av tidkrevende og spesialiserte teknikker i begynnelsen av århundret mot færre og langt enklere teknikker motslutten av århundret. Presentasjonen av teknikken endres også. Fra det å ta vare på alt til siste trevl syntes som en underforstått selvfølge, via at dette giset moralsk innhold til en frigjøring fra både de økonomiske og de moralskebegrunnelser for arbeidet. Teknisk vises dette i en endring fra vektlegging avavanserte og usynlige teknikker som gjorde det reparerte/omsydde plagget sålikt det originale som mulig, til en vektlegging av teknikkenes mulighet tilegne estetiske uttrykk. 1970-tallet er en glansperiode for dette arbeidet, noe som settes i sammenheng både med antimote, formingsideologi og en voksende fritidsideologi. Mot slutten av hundreåret forsvinner teknikkene for å økonomisere med tekstiler fra håndarbeidsbøkene. Men i bladene er det fortsatt en viss interesse for garderobeplanleggning og fornying av enkeltplagg.

Klikk her for å lese hele rapporten (oda.oslomet.no).

Summary

The objective of this report is to document the changes in the way different techniques for economising with textiles is referred to throughout the 20thCentury.The material for the study consists of 80 needlework books, in addition to some periodicals and ladies’ magazines. The analysis focuses when the different techniques are described relative to each other and how they are described. The described techniques include needlework for the prevention of wear and tear, different kinds of mending, recycling of textiles through re-sewing and the utilisation of rags, patches and left-over yarn.

The development goes from numerous time-consuming and specialised techniques at the beginning of the century towards fewer and far simpler techniques at the end of the century. The presentation of the techniques is also changing. In the earliest period utilising everything to the last rag seems like an implied matter of course. Later this kind of work is given a moral significance, and at last it is liberated from economic as well as moral reasons. Technically this development is shown through a change from stressing advanced and invisible techniques which made the mended or re-sewn garment as similar to the original as possible, to a stressing of the techniques’ potential for a unique aesthetical expression. The 1970s is the golden age for this kind of work, which can be explained both by “anti-fashion”, the new ideology of art education in the schools and by a growing ideology of leisure time. Towards the end of the century the techniques for economising with textiles dis-appear from the books of needlework. Yet in the magazines there is still a certain interest in wardrobe planning and renewal of garments.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.