The rise of repair: Why you should visit a Repair Café

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ElectroRecycle began collaborating with repair cafés several years ago to encourage the repair of small appliances and power tools and promote the 5 R’s of the waste reduction hierarchy: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, and Recycle.

It’s been so exciting to see the rise of repair both globally and right here in British Columbia. Repair communities have been popping up across BC, and since small appliances and power tools are some of the most commonly repairable items, it seemed logical to partner up. ElectroRecycle offers attendees an opportunity to recycle their small appliance or power tool on-site if it can’t be fixed. This ensures that even if the appliance is beyond repair, it won’t end up in a landfill.

But why is a repair café worth visiting? And just how much is being repaired? Let’s take a look at the Port Coquitlam Repair Café as an example.

It’s likely your small appliances will be repaired

ElectroRecycle is now a regular participant at the Port Coquitlam Repair Café, which began in June 2019. There have been seven repair café events hosted by the City of Port Coquitlam since then. The events’ success is largely due to the skilled volunteers and the City’s dedication to building a community that is keen to reduce its waste and educate others to do so as well.

Which items can you bring in for repair?

Thanks to Mahdis Araujo, Port-Coquitlam’s Engineering and Public Works Program Ambassador, we were able to put together these graphs below. They show which types of items were most commonly brought to the Port Coquitlam Repair Café.

Graph of item types brought to Port Coquitlam Repair Cafe

Clothing, textiles, small appliances and power tools are the most common items brought to these events.

Graph of the small appliances and power tools brought to Port Coquitlam Repair Cafe

Of the small appliances and power tools brought in for repair, vacuums and fans were the most commonly repaired items.

According to the data gathered above, there is approximately a 70% chance that you will go home with a fixed product, ready to be used once again. Very encouraging isn’t it!

Not only has the item, which can have sentimental value, too, been repaired, but attendees have also spent time learning how to repair it. In addition, we often hear how residents feel that these events bring their communities together and deepen their sense of belonging.

Repair in Metro Vancouver

ElectroRecycle was very excited to attend the first-ever Metro Vancouver Repair Café. Held on August 24th, 2019, it brought together volunteers from all over the Lower Mainland, including Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, White Rock, Repair Matters, Frameworq and Free Geek. Metro Vancouver organized four repair café events in 2019, each located in a different community. Their objective is to provide a repair opportunity to as many people as possible, and the results have been very encouraging. A total of 257 individual items have been brought in for repair since the start of the Metro Vancouver Repair Café. As a result of the events, 153 items have been fixed to date.

Repairing an electrical item at repair event

Speaking to the Vancouver Sun, Dan Withers, an electrical engineer and one of the founders of the Metro Van Repair Café, said “a broken blender is a perfect example of what can be easily fixed. But the era of the small repair shop is long gone — tin smiths, fix-it shops, clock and repair shops, vacuum specialists have slowly disappeared. It can cost $30 just to have someone look at your blender, and an hourly rate to repair. Most people would just give up and buy a new one.”

That’s just one more reason why we love repair cafés. They’ve revitalized repair as an affordable, viable option that can connect individuals within their community.

ElectroRecycle’s role at Repair Cafés

Our main objective is to keep small appliances and power tools out of the landfill. Above all, we want British Columbians to know how to recycle these items, ensuring proper disposal at their end-of-life. Check out our infographic to learn more about our recycling process.

Don’t miss the next event!

We look forward to collaborating with organizations such as NADA, Repair Matters and Langley‘s Repair Café in the coming months! If you want to host or participate in a repair cafe, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us via email at

In the meantime, check out these organizations to find out more about their upcoming events:

So head down to your next repair café, we’re looking forward to seeing you there!

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