We throw away household items, clothing and many more things far too often, even though they could be (easily) repaired! Repair Cafés fight that trend by bringing people together to learn how to repair things. This saves you money and helps conserve the rare resources of our planet. There are already 1.500 Repair Cafés worldwide.
Why are Repair Cafés so much needed today?
We produce so much waste! Let's take a closer look on the waste produced in the EU. From the around 2.5 billion tonnes of waste produced in EU-28 countries in 2014, 8.3% is household. Which means that we as inhabitants produce around 208 million tonnes of household waste a year, which would equal around 409 kg of household waste per inhabitant in 2014 (Eurostat, 2017). What an enourmous number!
And this houshold waste can simply be reduced by reparing broken items: the jeans with the missing button, the jacket with a broken zipper, socks with a hole, damaged bicycles or toys, not-functioning electronic devices or gardening tools... and all other household items that you can think of.
The next question is about how to repair them? This again leads to another problem, as today many people no longer know how to repair. This practical knowledge is mostly lost in our current throw-away culture and not valued enough. This problem is also addressed by the non-profit organization Repair Café International Foundation, who informs about repair cafés worldwide and provides professional support to local groups to start their own Repair Café: "The trouble is, lots of 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." (Repair Café International Foundation, 2018)
What are Repair Cafés?
Again I want to quote the Repair Café International Foundation with their fitting description of the principle of repair cafés: "Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need on clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields. Visitors bring their broken items from home. Together with the specialists they start making their repairs in the Repair Café. It’s an ongoing learning process. If you have nothing to repair, you can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee. Or you can lend a hand with someone else’s repair job." (Repair Café International Foundation, 2018)
Who brought the idea to life and how did it develop?
Martine Postma organized the first Repair Café in Amsterdam in 2009 and later started the Repair Café Foundation in 2011 with the goal to support others to create their own local Repair Cafés. The ideas found so many supporteds that there are now nearly 1,600 Repair Cafés worldwide.
You want to learn more and get a few insights? We will report about some Repair Cafés in different cities in Europe in the future and give you some easy instuctions to fix your broken things.
#EcoMap #SustainableConsumption #Change #Repair #RepairCafe #ReduceWaste
Eurostat (2017). Waste Statistics. Retrieved from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Waste_statistics#Total_waste_generation
Repair Café International Foundation (2018). About Repair Café. Retrieved from https://repaircafe.org/en/about/