Britain's failure to fix is costing us £4.6billion a year

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On my recent holiday to South Africa, I was really impressed with what I saw when I walked through the outer streets of Durban.

Market stall after market stall, items were being reused and recycled – from circuit boards and second hand clothes to peg holders made of plastic bags and everyday wire crafted into little ornaments.

The thought that had gone into some of these items was simply ingenious.

The only occasion that I can think of where that happens in the UK is at car boot fairs on Sundays in the summer. Or online on sites like Etsy.

Sadly, widespread wastage means that Brits are pouring billions of pounds down the drain replacing broken items which they admit could be fixed, according to a recent survey by mouldable glue brand, Sugru.

Last year, Brits spent an average of £89.38 last year replacing mendable items, footing a collective bill of over £4.6billion.

Only a third (33%) of adults reported they were thrifty enough to make a conscious effort to fix things, rather than throw them away.

And over a quarter admitted to throwing away up to three household items last year that could have been repaired, with one in ten even claiming to have discarded up to six salvageable items. 

The top ten thrown away items were:

Kettle 24%

Umbrella 21%

Crockery 18%

Charger Cable 16%

Mobile Phone 12%

Toys 11%

Suitcases/bags/sleeping bags/jackets with broken zips 11%

Toasters 9%

Washing machine 9%

Lamps 8%

Despite our apparent wasteful approach to our saveable items, three-quarters of Brits said they wished they were more able to repair their broken items.

Money saving was the biggest motivation to mend, with 89% agreeing that they would like to fix items to avoid unnecessary spending replacing them. And 77% said they would enjoy the problem-solving aspect to mending.

So the next time your umbrella breaks, think about what an accomplishment it would be to fix it yourself.

There’s bragging rights right there!

Lauretta blogs (and vlogs) at