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The temporary use of the Zürich Central Laundry (ZWZ) has just been opened. On the first floor, the climate workshop offers space for repairs, workshops and exchange platforms for the next five years. The project includes a repair cafe, a sewing studio, soldering stations, a "Sharely" online platform and co-working spaces. Avoiding waste is a central theme of the climate workshop. This goal is to be achieved by recycling as much waste as possible and processing it into new projects in an upcycling channel. A contribution towards expenses of CHF 10.- enables visitors to use all tools and complete their project at no great expense. Material costs are billed separately. Supervisors and guest experts support users in their concerns.

However, everyone should be instructed to repair everything themselves. Because a major concern of the climate workshop is that the necessary craftsmanship is passed on and disseminated. Self-managed statistics use the weight to calculate how much CO2 was saved when a device was repaired. If repairs are not possible, the workshop offers external repair companies who also work as ecologically as possible. Other projects include zero waste, a worm compost or building an organic garden and imparting knowledge on the circular economy or other sustainable topics. The Climate Workshop is a member of the Climate Forum of the City of Zürich and is in constant exchange with other grassroots organizations.

Link to the website: www.site.share.repair

Interview with Klimawerkstatt ZWZ*

*The interviewed person wants ro remain anonymous and speaks for the whole Klimawerkstatt-Team

I: What makes the "Klimawerkstatt" sustainable?

A: We support households to become sustainable and to conserve resources, however that can be done. On the one hand we repair things, on the other hand we have knowledge for Zero-Waste or how to begin a Worm compost, bio-garden group. We try to connect people and to increase knowledge about sustainable projects.

I: What experiences did you have with the climate workshop and customers?

A: We got advice from Sep Eisenrigel, who has a repair workshop with about 40 employees in the last 20 years and as he came to visit this place, he immediately thought about doing a repair shop, therefore he was a great inspiration. Another local repair shop owner is Balz Chruegel, that helped us with the concept work and has a lot of knowledge in this realm. Further, we had a test phase from September to December with 10 test openings each Friday and we conducted a statistic with how much CO2 we have saved by repairing various things. There we saw that we could not repair about 40% of the gadgets and needed to send it to a specialist or that a special component needs to be bought somewhere else. But generally, the feedback of the customers was very positive and content. Some said that they finally saw where this gadget breaks and that they will look out for alternatives which have longer durability. throughout they responded very positive even if we could not repair the thing, they brought with them. They always had a feeling of success even if the device did not work afterwards. My observation was, that throughout all were positive and that some people that already know what misses to repair the machine and that there are others that never have opened up a device and fear do it themselves. So, there are quite some differences between our customers, but I am confident to say that all walked out happy.

I: How exactly did you calculate the CO2 savings in the statistics, that you conducted?

A: I do not think that the statistic was very accurate, but there are several tables produced by various environmental organizations, that help to look up the mean amount of CO2 that this model of vacuum cleaner has. We weight the gadget and multiply it with the approximate value of the model. I think it is exactly sufficient for our purposes.

I: Do you think that the city of Zürich needs more low-threshold services to workshops like this?

P: Yes absolutely! I was somewhat deterred from the approach of the FabLab, because of the hourly rate at which one must pay for using the Lab. Therefore, we chose another approach to just pay 10 Franks per project, because sometimes we have to wait for a spare part, and they can store their goods here until they can repair it.

I: What do you think about the role of the city, to provide incentives and space for repair shops?

P: We are in contact with the city, as we are invited to take part at the first climate forum, that they host regularly and where we get involved. The city has various communication platforms, and they collect all the different information and inputs. Different associations and grassroots organizations, like Share and Repair, are part of it. They know that it is needed, that Projects develop from the local population! My vision is to duplicate the Shar and Repair project and that we do a "How to" pilot project. Maybe in a smaller format or in a modified way, but that we upkeep the exchange of knowledge and the Non-profit character of the workshop. We need more offers like this, because the free-market economy will not sustain the repair knowledge.

I: Do you have a recycling system?

P: Yes, we want to avoid waste completely. We have so called "stripping parties", where the devices are broken down into individual parts, sorted and processed to be reused in another project. It is important for people to notice that this trash can be reused, therefore we have a large upcycling station, instead of a recycling station or trash can. In the end there is still a little bit of waste left, that we bring to the nearest recycling station.

Workshop Klimawerkstatt (Image: Linus Joos)