Launched with seed funding from the UI Student Sustainability Commitee (SSC) and supported by donations from corporations, organizations and individuals, the Illini Gadget Garage is a collaborative repair center for electronic devices and small appliances, that works to:
- extend the useful life of products, and thus conserve the natural and human resources invested in their manufacture;
- provide experiential learning related to STEM and sustainability for students and community members; and
- empower people to see repair as a viable option for addressing minor damage and performance issues.
“Collaborative repair” means that Illini Gadget Garage staff and volunteers will guide you through the process of troubleshooting and repairing your devices yourself rather than doing it for you. It’s not “do it for you” but it’s also not entirely “do it yourself”–it’s more of a “do it together” approach meant to make learning about and working on electronics less intimidating. Since its launch the Illini Gadget Garage project has been coordinated by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) as part of its sustainable electronics and zero waste efforts.
The Illini Gadget Garage tracks the weight of devices brought in for assistance, as well as the weight of “special materials” (e.g. single use and rechargeable batteries plus CDs and their cases) it collects and ships for recycling. These statistics were recently updated to include figures through July 2018. See the summary of these figures at https://drive.google.com/file/d/11XV_2jO3KNf7437oQ3IlXoc4HtIjGNZ_/view.
As of July 2018, the project’s total for pounds of materials diverted from the waste stream through repair assistance or collection for recycling is 740.88 lbs!
How much is that, really? According to the web site “The Measure of Things” presented by Bluebulb Projects, that’s three-fourths as heavy as a grand piano, or about two-thirds as heavy as a polar or grizzly bear. See https://www.bluebulbprojects.com/MeasureOfThings/results.php?amt=740.88&comp=weight&unit=lbs&searchTerm=740.88+lbs.
Keep up the good work, University of Illinois students, staff, and faculty, and the residents of the broader Champaign-Urbana community!
To set up an appointment with the Illini Gadget Garage, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check their web site or Facebook page for upcoming “pop-up” repair clinic events throughout the community.