How This Global Movement Is Giving Pre-Loved Items A New Life!

Mar 22, 2023by Olivia Harper - F&F

The Darebin Repair Cafe, based in Melbourne, has been repairing items for free for nearly five years and has saved two tonnes of waste from landfill. Let’s check them out!

Repair Broken Items To Save Them From Landfill & Give Them A Second Life!

Darebin Repair Cafe is a fully volunteer-run three-hour event that runs every 2 months at different locations in Darebin, Melbourne, where you can bring along broken or damaged items to be repaired for free! Instead of throwing them away, you can save them from entering landfill and give them a second life.

The group is part of the International Repair Cafe Foundation, and is run by dedicated fixers, who are volunteers that have a skill to bring, such as sewing, craft, jewellery repairs, gluing, and electrical work in household appliances! The group is passionate about teaching and changing how we treat pre-loved items and improving environmental attitudes.

Upcycling Damaged ItemsUpcycling Damaged Items

Image: Matthias Luggen

The Repair Cafe Has Given Life To Over 2 Tonnes Of Damaged Items 

On the day, items are weighed and documented to measure what is saved from landfill. The fixer sits with you and helps you troubleshoot and fix your your item together! How fantastic is that? Since they started in May 2018, they have run 18 repair events and given new life to over two tonnes of items that would otherwise have gone to landfill.

Darebin Repair Cafe's co-founder shares "We have so many people come through the cafe over the past years, which is great. It's really amazing. This creates a shared passion of keeping things out of landfill. We have a lot of people come repeatedly and people love coming and getting involved."

Repair Cafe VolunteersRepair Cafe Volunteers

Image: Repair Cafe Foundation 

A Place To Start Conversations About The Environment & Be Part Of A Fixing Community 

Repair cafes are now a global movement — the first repair cafe first opened in the Netherlands in 2009, and there are more than 2573 cafes around the world who fix an average of 46,300 items a month!

One of Australia's leading clothes-mending practitioners, Erin Lewis-Fitzgerald, volunteers her time at the Darebin Repair Cafe to teach people how to mend and repair their clothing. She has been a business owner, writer, and has published her own book on mending.

She shared "It's great to use my skill set to help and teach people about mending and repairing but it's also great to be around people and be a part of a community full of people who are passionate about the same things.”

Had you ever heard of a repair cafe? What do you think about them? Please share your thoughts below! We think this is a brilliant concept and it’s fantastic that the Darebin Repair Cafe, along with repair cafes around the world are preventing hundreds of thousands of items from going to landfill!

If you love hearing about sustainability-focused stories and initiatives as much as we do, head to our Eco News category and check out the blogs below.

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