Repair Cafés – now there’s even less reason to throw something away

Manufacturers are deliberately making household items have a limited lifespan. The reason? To make you buy more. But now there’s a new method of saving this items from the scrapyard: Repair Cafés.

Repair Cafés originated in Amsterdam-West and bring professionals and amateurs together to fix things which would normally be thrown out. From Xbox remote controls to Microwave vans, if it can be fixed, it will be.

How Repair Cafés work

Free Repair Cafés are usually advertised in advance and may be held at a local school, community hall and even church. Professionals such as engineers and electricians volunteer their time to help people repair broken items where possible.

The tools are usually provided at the sessions (people are also encouraged to bring their own).

Coordinators will usually match volunteers and members to ensure that people are paired to the correct person to help them.

What can be repaired at a Repair Café?

Well, that’s up to you! Pretty much anything can be repaired including car parts, lamps, computer equipment, boiler parts, TV’s, pretty much anything.

In fact, one Repair Café in Palo Alto, California, claim that there repair rate is around 70% with over 2.000 items being tackled to date.

Teaching new skills

As well as repairing items, Repair Cafés work to help teach people new skills such as how to solder and how to use a multimeter. The can also help to improve problem-solving skills.

Social cohesion

By bringing together different people with different backgrounds, experiences and ages, Repair Cafés help to form social cohesion, especially when they are conducted in local communities.

In addition, the cafés help to instil a feeling of satisfaction and pride.

Helping the environment

Waste is one of the biggest issues facing mankind. The fact is that dispute increased in recycling across the Western world, we still throw far too much away on a global level.

Not only do we throw to much away, but the waste can often end up in poorer countries, polluting waterways and damaging the people who are forced to informally recycle the waste to pay for food. It is not uncommon in poorer countries for people to be put at risk of mercury poisoning and some forms of cancer from the chemicals and gases released during informal recycling.

Where can I find out more about Repair Cafés in my area?

Repair Cafés are a relatively new concept in the UK and events are still very limited. As more people become aware of these events the numbers are expected to increase.

Maybe one day I’ll put together a free website for people to advertise their sessions…if you think this would be worthwhile then get in touch. With enough interest I’d be happy to oblige.


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