Don’t toss it, fix it! at Port Coquitlam Repair Cafe

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While the summer ambassadors were attending collection events at the Vancouver Farmers Market, ElectroRecycle’s Event and Communications Lead Lauren was in attendance at Port-Coquitlam’s first Repair Cafe on June 1. Lauren’s recap of the event and details on the history and benefits of Repair Cafes can be found below.

Upon arrival at the Repair Cafe, I was immediately welcomed by Mahdis’ contagious smile and positive energy. Mahdis, who works for the City of Port-Coquitlam, decided to put this event together and offer the community an opportunity to gather together and repair.

What is a Repair Cafe and how does it really work?

Before digging further into the event, you might wonder how a Repair Cafe works; is it open to the public, free to attend? The first Repair Cafe was initiated by Martine Postma in Amsterdam in 2009. Since this first Repair Cafe, the movement has grown worldwide. There are currently 1,841 Repair Cafes held throughout the world, from Africa to Asia, South America, North America, and Australia.

Repair Cafes are free to attend! The objective of these events is to offer an opportunity for all to come and learn how to repair different items together. Repair Cafes are all about gathering the community in one setting, providing a collaborative and enjoyable experience. Some community members attend as “expert volunteers” as they have years of experience repairing certain items (such as bicycles, textiles and electrical appliances). Others come to share their power drills, sewing machines and other tools, while some come to simply enjoy a cup of tea, observe and learn.

Interested in creating a Repair Cafe in your home town? Find out more about the house rules here.

Partnering with Port Coquitlam’s Repair Cafe

On Saturday June 1, about 35 handymen and women volunteered their time and expertise to repair dozens of small appliances, electronics, and clothing. They were all very nicely organized in “stations”: the textile station was on one side of the room next to the jewelry repair tables, and across the room were the electrical appliances. All items were welcomed as the volunteers attempted to extend the life span of that favourite sweater and trusty toaster.

One of the attendees came to the Repair Cafe in hopes of repairing his old fan. The stand had broken and couldn’t be replaced by the manufacturer, so two of the expert volunteers offered to help him out by applying their carpentry skills to design a new stand. Without their help, the fan would have certainly ended up at the recycling depot. Now it can be used to keep the summer heat at bay once more, and the wooden stand definitely adds some character and uniqueness to it!

Repair Cafes offer so many advantages to a community:

  • An opportunity to gather and connect with other people
  • Learn how to repair and maintain the items you already have
  • Cut down on waste ending up in landfill

We love partnering with Repair Cafes because we believe that recycling is the last possible option, once Rethinking, Refusing, Reducing, Reusing and Repairing have been tried out. ElectroRecycle attends Repair Cafes to ensure that small appliances and power tools that cannot be fixed are collected and recycled, saving the event attendees a trip to the recycling depot. As a result, we ensure a responsible recycling process is sustained.

If you’re interested in participating at or hosting a collection event with ElectroRecycle please let us know! You can reach out to us via email at info@cesarecycling.ca. You will find the list of all the items we recycle here.

More to come!

The next Repair event is happening in Vancouver on Saturday, June 15 from 10 am to 1 pm at the Thingery: 1445 McLean Drive.

And for those of you who live closer to Port-Coquitlam, Repair Cafes are happening again on July 6th and August 10th. For more information, contact repaircafe@portcoquitlam.ca

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