Congratulations to Galactic Co-operative, Switched on Business winners! Galactic Co-operative has hijacked the traditional technology market and built a business reversing inbuilt obsolescence. This includes repairing “unrepairable” lab equipment that manufacturers no longer support, making the required parts via 3D printing or CNC machining and coding to allow firmware upgrades, this means equipment can continue to operate once even when it is digitally obsolete.
What does a Co-operative do?
"The purpose behind Galactic is to be innovative, inspiring, and tenacious, demonstrating that we can do better. Sustainability is one of our five key values, we innovate to meet the needs of our people, community and planet. It is a big one to strive for and keeps us focused on what we can do to lower our waste and repair wherever possible" according to Kate Biondo, Galactic Co-operative CEO.
What is obsolescence?
Obsolescence is when an item is no longer useful. This can happen when the product:
- Is designed to break
- Is designed so that parts cannot be repaired or replaced easily
- The product manufacturer does not offer repairs, replacement parts or digital support
- Is not compatible with newer technology or software updates
- Is designed to go out of fashion
How does it damage the environment?
By repairing items, instead of replacing, carbon emissions and waste are avoided. Some of the environmental impacts of new purchases include:
- Metals, minerals and non-renewable resources are mined
- Energy is used for smelting metal and manufacturing
- Fossil fuels are required to move the materials, parts and, finally, the product around the world
- Waste created in packaging and finally disposing of the product (hopefully not to landfill!)
You can avoid obsolescence!
As the consumer, the choice is up to you. Some of the choices you can make include:
- Buying repairable. Chose a phone or computer that allows you to replace the screen or battery when they are damaged
- Repairing it at a local repair café. Galactic Co-Operative organise and run the Vic Park Repair Lab
- Buying functional and timeless. For long-lasting items choose something that can be used over and over again that never goes out of fashion. You could apply this choosing a set of pots and pans or pair of shoes, the possibilities are endless!
- Buy simple and sturdy. Flimsy things will break easily. The more parts it has the more parts it has to break (or fix!), so choose the simplest item to do the job