Until now, the focus of the circular economy has been primarily on designing products for easier disassembling and recycling – the “outer circle” – which implies creating a closed loop of materials. In the case of electronics this means recovering metals in our gadgets, something only feasible at scale and something from which big companies can profit.
The “inner circle” of repair and reuse, seems to have been fairly mute in public discussions on the circular economy but the inner circle is where we can transform our reality. Let’s imagine the rebirth of urban, local economies of maintenance and repair where libraries, community centres, markets, churches, galleries and pubs are used to combat a throw-away culture and fix electronics. The inner circle is people centred, it is for citizens, small companies and community initiatives to reinvent.