A Special Place for Repair Cafés in Climate Action

The importance of community initiatives in the fight against climate change – creating awareness and harnessing the power of people cannot be denied. From taking a pivotal role in education about climate change, community clean up drives, creating a movement around  how to garden to encourage wildlife and pollinators, they are taking centre stage.

One of the areas that I found to be so valuable is reducing the electrical waste going to the landfill by creating a space where appliances destined to be thrown away are repaired instead.

According to an article by https://cleanstreets.westminster.gov.uk/ the amount of waste electrical and electronic appliances (WEEE) produced globally is rising three times faster than the world’s population. It is also one of the waste streams with the highest carbon impact, alongside plastics, food waste and textiles.

Every year, residents and businesses in the UK throw away a staggering £1.6M tonnes of WEEE. This volume of WEEE is enough to fill 160,000 of our refuse collection trucks. This £1.6M tonnes works out at nearly 24 kg for every person living in the UK, one of the highest figures in Europe. This means that every possible effort to reduce and save these items from the landfill makes a difference.

Enter the Repair Café – an initiative which has been growing in popularity. With the decline in the practice of shops doing repairs, one often throws away non-functioning electrical appliances.

What is a repair café then? It is exactly as it sounds. You bring your in-need-of-repair appliances as well as items of clothing repaired instead of sending them to the landfill, thereby, making a significant contribution to reduction of waste. No appointments necessary, there may be a wait time if a particular station is popular that day. There is no charge for the repairs done, and you can give a voluntary donation which goes towards the cost of the event.

The Amersham venue is at the St Michael and All Angels Church on Sycamore Road in Amersham. Different stations are set out to fix a variety of items from electrical (toaster, CD player, drill with stuck battery, lamp, vacuum cleaner, hedge trimmer, hair dryer, pressure washer), sewing (dress hems, watch straps, handbags). 

In addition, there have been stalls for eco-friendly products and eco refills, charity organisations selling greeting cards and much more. Check out the individual event poster for information.

From the first repair café which ran in July 2022, it takes place once every two months and has grown with the incredibly skilled volunteer repairers who take on different items and the cosy café area where you can have a slice of cake and a cuppa while you wait.

Repair cafés are run by amazing climate community based groups across Buckinghamshire on a monthly or once in 2 months basis in Chesham, Hazlemere, High Wycombe and Amersham. More information about the Amersham Repair Café can be found at https://sustainableamersham.org/repair-cafe-2/

Would you like to start a repair café? Check out https://www.repaircafe.org/en/ and be the change in your community.