What do you usually do when an appliance, piece of furniture or technological device broken? It’s often a lot easier in today’s consumer society to simply trash it and buy something new. After all, it’s not like we’re running out or resources or space in landfills. Or are we?
As I followed the signs into the small space of the main street branch of the Toronto public library and the stairs led down to a brightly lit room filled with people. The room was surprisingly organized with a large white sheet filled with names, a waitlist.
The repair cafe happening on this day was not a full-sized one but was full by every other metric. The people here were gathered from all over and ranged in ages from young to old and in diversity very indicative of Toronto. They were all gathered here with their bags big and small with appliances and furniture of all sorts. Here the broken became mended and the old became new.
The repair cafe stems from a simple idea: fix, don’t trash. As volunteer Oleg put it, “landfills are being filled and throwing away fixable items certainly won’t help.” The repair cafe staff also maintain an education-focused approach, explaining step by step as they go through with diagnosing and fixing the issue in order to teach. A few minutes in, my attention was suddenly shifted to an older gentleman ringing a bell followed by applause. The ringing of a bell was a practice done every time an item became fixed and the success was cherished by everyone!
Overall, I’d say that my frosty Saturday was greatly warmed by the staff and participants at the repair cafe popup. They were all taking part in saving the environment, one item at a time.