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Repair cafe offers a new approach to recycling

Okanagan Upcycle Resource Society co-chair Laurel Burnham provides an enthusiastic voice for recycling and reusing potentially discarded products. The society is hosting a Repair Cafe on Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m untl 2 p.m.
April 25, 2015 - 8:32 AM

PENTICTON - A Penticton group hopes a European recycling idea will turn Penticton's trash back into treasure today.

Okanagan Upcycle Resource Society is hosting a Repair Cafe at their centre located at 180 Industrial Ave.

Laurel Burnham with the society is enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by things people throw away.

Burnham says the repair cafe idea comes from Holland and is based on the premise every household has an item that needs repair, whether it’s an electrical appliance, a bicycle or a piece of clothing.

“All we can think of is to throw them out, but there are people in the community who have the skills, the ability to repair these things on a small scale," she says. "The idea is, people can bring these objects down here, and sit with the people who have the skills and tools to do it, and learn how, develop a relationship. We’re talking about community building here as well."

She feels society needs to create more self sufficiency and sustainability as government continues to divest itself of support to the populace.

“This is what sustainability looks like."

Saturday will be the society’s first repair cafe, with more planned for later in the year.

Burnham says the idea is catching on, noting a repair cafe took place in Kelowna last week, sponsored by the Central Okanagan Regional District at the Kelowna Okanagan College campus.

The organization has an agreement with the regional district that allows them to salvage things from the Campbell Mountain Landfill and sell at deeply discounted prices from their store.

“What you see is just a tiny fraction of what gets thrown away everyday,” Burnham says, pointing to the hundreds of recycled items in the shop. “We are an unbelievably wasteful society, and we have to stop.”

The society has only been operating out of the Industrial Avenue address since November, but Burnham says expansion plans are already in place. “We’re looking for an operations manager and a bookkeeper. This is turning into a nice little business.”

The repair cafe operates from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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