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New repair café aims to chop waste

October 02, 2014 - 1:44 PM

Are you handy with a wrench, great at sewing, a whiz when it comes to repairing a bike, or fixing a broken toaster?  Want to volunteer a few hours of your time to share your special skills with others? If so, the Regional Waste Reduction Office wants to hear from you as they gear up to host their first ever Repair Café, slated for this fall at Okanagan College.

Cynthia Coates, Waste Reduction Facilitator for the RDCO says the Repair Café reduces unnecessary waste and builds community.  “We want to bring together craftspeople that have the knowledge to fix everyday items such as small appliances, bikes, clothing and more, with people who have items that need to be fixed.  It’s a great way for people to learn a new skill, get more use out of their item, save it from the landfill and meet their neighbours’'.”

Coates adds many people no longer think about the possibility of repairing an old product and most people no longer know how to repair things.” This type of knowledge is noticeably on the decline and people still in possession of this practical fix-it know-how are often not adequately appreciated or utilized.  What if we could find these knowledgeable, skilled repairers and put them in a room together.  Then invite the community to bring in their items in need of repair?  What if that knowledge could be passed down and people could learn how to fix their own things?  That’s the Repair Café in a nutshell!”

Repair Café is new for our area, but not a new concept says Coates. “Repair Café or Fix-it type events are very popular in Europe.  They started in the Netherlands in 2009, and bring together people for a day of repairing and learning as well as socializing.  The idea is spreading and repair events have taken place in Vernon, Calgary, Nanaimo, Edmonton and several cities across the United States. “

If you are able to fix one or two things or a whole bunch of things and would like to volunteer an afternoon of your time repairing and teaching others we would like to hear from you.  You can call the Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250 or email

Look for information on the first annual Repair Café coming this fall at

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