Tackling waste and saving money in Camden with the circular economy

Camden residents are now able to reduce their waste and save money at the same time through two innovative schemes in the borough.

The Fixing Factory, based in Queens Crescent, helps residents mend their broken household appliances, while the Library of Things, based in Kentish Town Library, allows residents to borrow tools and other useful items at low cost.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

We are delighted that the Fixing Factory and the Library of Things have come to Camden.

Reducing the amount of waste that we produce in Camden is of vital importance to the borough becoming a more sustainable place to live and work.

We want to challenge the “take-make-dispose” model of the linear economy in Camden and replace it with an alternative which values repair and reuse, while cutting consumption emissions, reducing waste, and helping residents during the cost-of-living crisis.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

The Fixing Factory, which recently appeared on the BBC news website, allows residents to resist throwing away household appliances and needlessly buying new goods which are often expensive and environmentally damaging, as well as providing learning opportunities so they can repair appliances themselves.

The Library of Things, based in Kentish Town Library, is a community-powered social enterprise that helps residents save money and reduce waste by affordably renting out useful items like drills, sound systems and sewing machines.

The Library of Things offers over 28 useful household, DIY and gardening items for residents to borrow for as little as £1 a day. Residents can reserve items online ready to collect from a self- service kiosk.

Charlotte Thorpe, Library of Things said:

"We’re really excited to be opening our second Library of Things in Camden this month in Kilburn. Almost 1,000 Kentish Town residents have already borrowed an item for a few pounds instead of buying it brand new - saving £45,000 collectively. 

"Sharing items and repairing broken things is a great way to save money, learn new skills, and be more sustainable. Kentish Town has already prevented 8.8 tonnes of waste from ending up in landfill - a huge achievement!"

Dermot Jones, project manager at climate charity Possible, said:

"The appetite that the local community has for the Fixing Factory in Queen's Crescent shows just how valuable community fixing can be.

“We're so grateful to every person that's come through our doors, and we hope we've given them the skills and knowledge so that fixing is their first option in the future. Camden has provided us with fertile ground to get our project rooted and we hope it'll help us reach our vision of getting a fixing factory on every high street in the UK."

  •  Fixing Factories is a co-production with the Restart Project, and training partners Mer-IT. Fixing Factories is funded by the National Lottery Climate Action Fund and CAST. The West London Waste Authority are also partners on the Fixing Factory in Brent. Camden Council supported the Queen’s Crescent Fixing Factory in finding its location
  • Library of Things was founded by Emma Shaw, Rebecca Trevalyan and Sophia Wyatt in 2016. Inspired by similar projects emerging in cities like Berlin and Toronto, this women-led social enterprise launched its first self-service kiosk in Crystal Palace in 2018.

Councillor Adam Harrison is pictured at the Fixing Factory with Dermot Jones, project manager