“Repair Cafés” will not solve very many recycling problems, but they are a sign of community spirit and how hidden talents can be used to keep some aged products from being dumped.
Modern industry often can’t use the old-fashioned ability to fix minor mechanical problems. It’s not cost-effective. The Repair Café’s little nuggets of voluntary efforts are trying to step in.
In fact, an international coalition of small “repair cafés” has sprung up. Founded in the Netherlands, Repair Café has 2772 cafes around the world, mostly in Europe and the United States (but also India and Japan). While most people may be happy to toss out broken and worn-out tools and utensils, many others want them repaired and restored to use—that is the market for these friendly, community-based outlets.
One of the newest is in Boise, Idaho. Murphy Woodhouse, writing for Boise (Idaho) State Public Radio News, quoted a city official: “We have a community of fixers who are able to fix things from broken household appliances to clothing that needs to be mended.”
For a far-different governmental approach to repairing old products see my “Right-to-Repair or Requirement to Share.”
This image of a Repair Cafe in England, taken by Karen Blakeman, is in the public domain.