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The green machine of Copenhagen

When machines break down, don't throw them away, fix them. Anders Koefoed has declared war on “planned obsolescence.” This is the third video in our Everyday Stories series, showcasing people who are adding more meaning and sustainability to their lives. (Video, 5 mins)

Anders Koefoed is a materials scientist who lives in Copenhagen. After a childhood dedicated to building Lego he studied engineering for real. In 2009 he launched a company called Green Machine, which helps companies to develop products with long life spans that use sustainable materials. "With the awareness that products are contributing to climate problems, I wanted to help make companies aware that there are alternative and less harmful ways of making things."

Anders’ specializes in combining natural plant materials with plastic, since the plant fibers are stronger and more sustainable while the plastic helps to prevent the plant fibers from rotting. He also advises companies on how to reduce the use of lead, mercury, flame-retardants and other components that harm consumers and the environment in their products.

Anders has declared war on “planned obsolescence” – the deliberate practice of shortening the useful life span of the things we use in our homes and factories. As shown in this video, he also “practices what he preaches,” repairing his own dishwasher with parts from an old bicycle tire. Watch closely, since this could save you from buying a whole new machine when it breaks down: dishwashers are designed to prevent you fixing them for yourself, even if all you need is a small patch of rubber.“The problem is that companies make their machines un-repairable. All manufactured products should last as long as possible. Companies should also sell all the parts you need to fix their products however old they are. That’s my dream.”

This is a series about ordinary people who are finding their own ways to lead more sustainable and meaningful lives in European cities. Over the next few months on Transformation, I will be sharing some of these stories to show what is possible in the here and now, if we have the courage and creativity to reach for it.

About the author

Ólöf Söebech was born in Reykjavik and now lives in Brussels. She studied human ecology, environmental studies and contemporary dance, and has worked in the fields of dance, education, research and activism. After conducting research in academia on sustainable consumption and production, Ólöf left her job to search for people who are defining their own creative ways to lead sustainable and meaningful lives, and launched a new website at to share their stories.

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