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Wed May 9, 2012, 01:00 AM

An Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time

An Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time
By SALLY McGRANE
Published: May 8, 2012

AMSTERDAM — An unemployed man, a retired pharmacist and an upholsterer took their stations, behind tables covered in red gingham. Screwdrivers and sewing machines stood at the ready. Coffee, tea and cookies circulated. Hilij Held, a neighbor, wheeled in a zebra-striped suitcase and extracted a well-used iron. “It doesn’t work anymore,” she said. “No steam.”

Ms. Held had come to the right place. At Amsterdam’s first Repair Cafe, an event originally held in a theater’s foyer, then in a rented room in a former hotel and now in a community center a couple of times a month, people can bring in whatever they want to have repaired, at no cost, by volunteers who just like to fix things.

Conceived of as a way to help people reduce waste, the Repair Cafe concept has taken off since its debut two and a half years ago. The Repair Cafe Foundation has raised about $525,000 through a grant from the Dutch government, support from foundations and small donations, all of which pay for staffing, marketing and even a Repair Cafe bus.

Thirty groups have started Repair Cafes across the Netherlands, where neighbors pool their skills and labor for a few hours a month to mend holey clothing and revivify old coffee makers, broken lamps, vacuum cleaners and toasters, as well as at least one electric organ, a washing machine and an orange juice press.

More:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/world/europe/amsterdam-tries-to-change-culture-with-repair-cafes.html?_r=1

3 replies, 1985 views

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Reply An Effort to Bury a Throwaway Culture One Repair at a Time (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 2012 OP
Sherman A1 May 2012 #1
Curmudgeoness May 2012 #2
kcass1954 May 2012 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 9, 2012, 04:18 AM

1. Cool!

and because the world needs more of them

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 9, 2012, 05:33 PM

2. I am impressed. I wonder if this would work here.

I just shake my head at all the things that are not broken that are trashed in the US. It is like a mentality of waste and excess. I wish I had time to put something like this together in my area to see if it would fly. I might be pleasantly surprised.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed May 9, 2012, 11:12 PM

3. When I moved to Broward County years ago, there was such a place -

Morty Rosenblum, Small Appliance Repair. He had a small storefront on a side street a couple of blocks off Hollywood Boulevard. His wife sat in the store with him all day and worked on her needlework.

My hair dryer shorted out, and he charged me $3 for a new cord. He fixed a toaster oven and a regular toaster, and a couple of lamps. Good work - reasonable prices.

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