Repair Cafe helps people fix items rather than dump them

Posted on 7 Dec 2016 by Aiden Burgess

An organisation, which began in the Netherlands, is encouraging people across the globe not to throw away items but to repair them.

Repair Cafe also has an active community and forum, which helps bring people together and share ideas - image courtesy of Repair Cafe
Repair Cafe also has an active community and forum, which helps bring people together and share ideas – image courtesy of Repair Cafe.

Repair Cafe is a non-profit organisation which offers free services to residents in 29 countries that want to fix their broken belongings, including electronics, bicycles, clothing and household items.

The first Repair Cafe was started in 2009 in Amsterdam and there are now 1,184 cafes worldwide including 32 in the UK and 45 in North America.

Repair Cafe’s are free meeting places where specialists and residents volunteer their time and skills to help repair items. Visitors bring in their broken items from home and, together with the specialists, they repair the items at the Cafe.

Repair Cafe helps the environment

By helping people repair their items rather than throwing them away, Repair Cafe aims to reduce the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products, thus reducing the CO2 emissions from manufacturing new products and recycling old ones.

The organisation not only aims to inspire sustainability at a local level by encouraging people to organise events in their area, but also provide a sense of community in bringing people to together to help offer advice and fix their items while the specialists help provide other people with new practical skills.

The first Repair Cafe was started on October 19, 2009 in Amsterdam by Martine Postma, who since 2007 has been striving for sustainability at a local level.

The success of the initial cafe prompted Postma to start the Repair Cafe Foundation which has provided professional support to local groups in the Netherlands and other countries wishing to start their own Repair Cafes.

Last month the Repair Cafe International Foundation started a partnership with online parts store, eSpares, which will see Repair Cafe organisers in all English, French, German and Spanish speaking countries receiving a 10% discount on all products purchased with eSpares.

If you live in the UK, Ireland, Australia or the US, you can follow the Repair Cafe news via the special Facebook pages of these countries. For this, you don’t necessarily need a Facebook account. If you do have an account, you can also respond to posts or ask questions.