There’s an encouraging new DIY trend appearing – a return to the days when we actually tried fixing stuff instead of throwing it away – Repair Cafés.
A repair cafe is essentially a co-ordinated get-together of people who like to fix things and people who have things that need to be fixed.
It’s a great combination of resource sharing and community building that’s long overdue. We’re throwing out huge volumes of stuff that could continue to have a useful purpose for you or someone else with just a minor repair like replacing a fuse or a two dollar part.
The societal shift toward products that are untouchable, robotic and useless when single parts break has given rise to a number of unfortunate consequences. First off, our landfills have swollen: The average American throws away 4.4 pounds of trash per day, compared to 2.68 pounds in 1960, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Additionally, we’ve been forced into shallow relationships with our material possessions and have become increasingly dependent on manufacturers. And finally, overall craftsmanship has declined, and we possess fewer objects worth taking pride in and passing to the next generation.
The repair café idea, not unsurprisingly, sprang to life in Europe in 2009 in reaction to the economic crisis, it’s now spreading to the US. Repair cafés are being held in large cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and recently Portland Oregon.
Like the maker movement, the ‘repair renaissance’ will likely grow slowly and steadily over a long period of time. The good news is – it’s underway.