— it’s not waste until you throw it away

Ann Phillips cleaned and restored this hurricane lamp rather than throw it away

Sometimes it’s just a bit too easy to chuck unwanted stuff out, and once in a skip there’s only one place it’s going — a hole in the ground.

So if the thought of that makes you feel a little guilty there are other options out there and they’re not as difficult as you might think.

Repairs — and reuse before recycling

The Repair Café movement is taking off around the world and here in Dublin the next FixJam takes place on Saturday 11th March at Jigsaw, 10 Belvedere Court in Dublin. FixJam aims to help people learn new skills from volunteers in repairing everything from clothing to bicycles, jewellery to electronics instead of throwing them away.

At the moment the way we live is largely a linear economy — with materials produced to make items, used and the waste discarded. Increasingly however we’re going to have to move to what’s called a “circular economy” whereby we reuse as much as possible and when that’s no longer possible, reuse any waste in the production of something else. See more at: http://tinyurl.com/zsjzmmg

Lawnmower broken? There are a good few places in Dublin offering repairs. Hills Hire Service on the Johnstown Road, Glenageary, Co Dublin for instance will try to fix “anything that can be repaired” for the garden, from sharpening secateurs to strimmers. If it’s a branded lawnmower for which spare parts are available it costs from €67. If it’s non-branded, for €20 a mechanic will spend half-an-hour checking it out (so long as no spare parts are needed) to see if it can be repaired. Contact them at 01 2853676 (hillshire@gmail.com) or find them on Facebook at Hills Hire Service (they hire too as well — so there’s no need to buy if it’s just an occasional job).

Got a TV that’s letting you down? The eXtraCARE Service in The Old Church, Lower Kilmacud Road, Stillorgan repair several TVs a day saving landfill and customers a small fortune, as they say at least 80% can be repaired. ReLoved in Dublin brought a 12 year old Philips TV in and it cost €20 to have a look at the problem and another €50 to fix it. They don’t just do TVs, but radios, turntables, video recorders, microwaves and lamps, Playstations, Wii, Nintendo DS, XBox etc. and will also collect and deliver locally for an extra €25, even tuning and retuning for those who find it challenging 01 2836550 (extracaretv@eircom.net)

Camcorder repairs specialists are Lawless Brothers Service Centre (lawlessbrothers.com) in Malahide, Co. Dublin but they also do laptop, camera, DJ equipment, HiFi and console repairs 01 8456986.

Computer Ambulance (computerambulance.ie) based in Glasnevin and Booterstown, Co. Dublin can come to your house or business and offer a repair service as quick and hassle free as possible on site or collect and return. They can also offer a remote support session. Tel.: 086 337 1476.

There are services offering repairs like these companies for all sorts of equipment from tumble driers to clocks.

For bikes there’s a range of bike shops offering repairs as well as the “mobile bike doctor” in the Cycle Clinic (cycleclinic.ie) — a converted ambulance - who’ll make a house call to fix it (083 4500330). They’ve just put another vehicle on the road doing repairs this week and also do a pop-up shop in Marlay Park on Saturdays and Herbert Park on Sundays.

Another mobile bike clinic for people who find it difficult to get their bike to a bike shop is The Spokesman at (086) 8545654 who has no call out charge for those in the Dun Laoghaire area. The Spokesman also operates to a weekly schedule visiting various Dublin locations and businesses (see spokesman.ie) so you can get your bike repaired while at work.

In the Clondalkin area the Mobile Bicycle Sales and Service at 087 9983505 will collect your bike and return it when fixed. They can also be contacted with a message through their Facebook page.

Rothar.ie is a social enterprise offering bike maintenance classes as well as a repair service and you can rent space for a fee to repair your bike yourself in their Phibsboro 01 8602615 or Fade Street 01 6772233 premises in Dublin, with access to expert help as well as free tea, oil, tools etc.

Believe it or not, one in four Irish people are still either “hoarding” or putting electrical waste into the bin at home according to WEEE (Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment) Ireland.

Recycle IT is a not for profit social enterprise providing a collection and drop off service for all types of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). They deal with a range of WEEE including computers, cables, monitors, microwaves,TV’s, toasters, lamps, mobile phones, batteries etc. See their website at recycleit.ie. There’s a list of the main Dublin recycling centres at http://tinyurl.com/h4c5q8f.

Even better, RecycleIT have collected a range of vintage items only looking to be reused all over again or hired for a retro themed event. These include TVs, projectors, radio, record players, typewriters and more (those under 25 might need explanation as to what some of these are!) Contact them at info@recycleit.ie or (01) 4578321.

Of course there are lots of mobile phone shops offering repairs but since the battery is often the first thing to fail in a phone consumers often end up having to buy a new phone. If you’re in that position it might be worth buying a Fairphone (fairphone.com) next time as the components, including the battery, can be replaced by you. Fairphone offers a range of spare parts and instructions on how to replace components, as their phone is built with “repairability in mind”.


It’s the same idea behind iameco Computers (iameco.com) (Micropro Computers Ltd) which are described as the “first ecologically sustainable computers” developed by Dubliner Paul Maher. The company has won several green awards which is hardly surprising when you learn that they build a sustainable, ecological, high performance computer, free from the harmful chemicals and heavy metals built into most computers. They have a modular design which means you can update your computer to keep it up to speed rather than buying a new one. iameco has removed all the harmful materials such as brominated flame retardants, PVCs and heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury that are used in regular computer manufacture. Their computers are also designed to use a third less power and to last up to 10 years as well as being housed in solid natural woods, grown sustainably.

If you’re looking to buy a computer you might also think about a refurbished one. RehabRecycle offer them at about 50% of retail prices and supply many schools and charities. Contact them at info@rehabrecycle.ie or 1800 661 551.

Camara (Camara.org) offers a free collection service for companies of old computers and individuals can drop them off for free at the Chapelizod Industrial Estate where they’ll be securely wiped of all data and refurbished for use by students in disadvantaged communities in Ireland and Africa.

Dublin Crystal (dublincrystal.com) offer a crystal repair service for minor damage. They can repair damaged rims, re-bond broken pieces and remove most engraving. For more information call 01–2987302 or drop in to their showrooms in Dundrum. Prices start from €12.50 per item for general rim damage/chips.

While many jewellery shops only sell nowadays jewellery can be repaired at JewelleryRepair.ie in The Tower Design Centre at Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2. They’ll fix and will also make anew for you reusing old jewellery which has sentimental value.

Adamson Luggage (Adamsonluggage.com) at 3 Johnsons Place, off South King Street in Dublin offer repairs to various types of luggage 01 6774622 and their repair department is open from Monday to Saturday.

When it comes to clothes, The Zip Yard (thezipyard.ie) is an Irish company with several outlets in Dublin. So whether it’s the hem on your jeans or a bridal outfit they offer to “Restyle, Remodel, Refit, Renew and Retrend.” Find them too on Instagram @zipyardalterations. There are quite a few other clothes repair outlets such as the Alteration Centre on South Anne Street, Des Byrne Tailoring Alterations, Grafton Street. And of course there are plenty of shoe repairing shops to get your soles redone.

New laptop covers, wallets and purses made out of old sports gear by LX-upcycle

LX-upcycle at lx-upcycle.com, an Irish company, takes used extreme sports wear from neoprene to kites, ropes, bike tubes and more and fashions them into laptop covers to wallets which it sells online. Donate your waste and they’ll give you a 20% discount of any of their products.

Old mattresses? Try Eco Mattress Recycling Ireland (ecomattressrecycling.com) in Dublin which will even collect from your home for a minimum charge of €30 (which would cover a single bed and mattress for instance.)

Here’s a child’s monks bench that was unwanted

Finding someone to reuse your unwanted items is even easier through your smartphone with the FreeTrade Ireland app which is free. You can upload photos of what you don’t want any longer and search for items you do — everything from furniture to wooden pallets which might be useful for something you’re making. Other sites offering the same service are jumbletown.ie; adverts.ie; gumtree.ie; freecycle.org and weshare.ie. You can ask too for what you’re looking for if it’s not already listed.

Of course the charity shops will also take your unwanted books, household crockery, ornaments and other household bits and pieces. For example, the Wicklow Homeless Five Loaves shop in the Bray Recycling Centre, Beechwood Close off the Boghall Road in Bray sells a great deal of household delph, clothes, shoes, bags, costume jewellery, DVDs and CDs, upcycled furniture and more. Animal charities like the DSPCA (dspca.ie) 01 4994700 also have a long list of items they would value being donated to them from animal toys to horse blankets.

And look what Maison Moli on the Florence Road in Bray did with it!

Several recycling centres will take your leftover paint, so if you’re looking for paint, try Ballymun’s Rediscovery Centre first. They take leftover paint from the recycling centres and sell non-hazardous water based indoor paint. The Centre also takes bikes to reuse parts. Their new shop opens in April and the Ecostore will sell upcycled clothes from textile waste, homewear accessories, upcycled furniture and bicycles and other reuse and eco products from Ireland and Europe. An Ecocafé is also planned. Open Saturdays as well after April 4th and one late night per week, with courses throughout the week in practical skills from fashion design to sustainability 01 8933801 (rediscoverycentre.ie).

These are just a few pointers to get you going — you may well know of others. Please tweet to us of any repair or reuse service which others might like to know about.

And please join our Tweetchat on March 15th at #skiptheskip to share info on how to keep stuff out of landfill!

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