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Repair-Cafés have been popping up all over the world… but what are they?

3 min read

Better Society
Repair-Cafés have been popping up all over the world… but what are they?
Source: Facebook/RepairCafeInternational

Repair Cafés are free meeting places that are all about repairing things (together) and stopping tons of serviceable items, from clothing to bicycles, ending up in landfill in the process.

Repair Café International: the worldwide community of repair enthusiasts

Repair Café International is the worldwide community of repair enthusiasts, tinkerers and people who like to join up with their neighbours to create a sustainable future. Originating in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, at each Repair Café location you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. Mend clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, toys, and more. On site you’ll find expert volunteers with repair skills in all kinds of fields, to help and advise you in repairing your items.

Repair-Cafés are popping up all over the world Repair Café International is the global community of local groups that organise their own Repair Café meetings, using the motto: “Toss it? No way!“ Source: Facebook/BrightVibes

The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light and appreciate their value

As a society, we throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong them, and which could easily get a new lease of life after a simple repair. The trouble is, most people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves, or they no longer know how. 

Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, and against their will they are often left standing on the sidelines. Their experience is never used, or hardly ever.

The Repair Café changes all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released.

The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. The Repair Café helps change people’s mindset, which is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. Once your item is repaired, a donation is voluntary. It’s entirely up to you.

Most of all, the Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go? 

Since the first one opened in Amsterdam in 2009, there are now well over 14,000 Repair Cafés in dozens of countries.

Source: RepairCafe.org

Photo: Peter Skinner — Repair Café Palo Alto
Expert volunteers with repair skills in all kinds of fields help and advise in repairing your items Photo: Peter Skinner — Repair Café Palo Alto Source: Facebook/RepairCafeInternational

Want to start your own Repair Café? Others have, all over the world. So can you!

The Repair Café Foundation supports local groups around the world to start their own Repair Café.

For a small voluntary one-off fee, the foundation offers a digital starter kit to get you going, containing an extensive Repair Café manual with everything you need to know to start your own local Repair Café. 

This step-by-step manual is based on their years of experience, and guides you through all the different stages of setting up your own Repair Café: from finding local repair experts and a suitable location, to collecting the right tools, creating publicity, finding funds for your initiative etc.

There’s loads more in the starter kit, and ongoing support from the foundation. To find out more about how to start your own Repair Café, click here. Find them on Facebook here.

Source: RepairCafé.org

The students repaired radios, clothes, rechargeable lamps and mobile phones. Flush with their success, they are planning that the next Repair Café will be in a hall in the local town, Apam.
Ghanaian students organised a sub-Saharan Repair Café meeting at their college in Mankoadze The students repaired radios, clothes, rechargeable lamps and mobile phones. Flush with their success, they are planning that the next Repair Café will be in a hall in the local town, Apam. Source: Facebook/RepairCafeInternational
Make an Impact

The motto of Repair Café: “Toss it? No way!”

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