On the Road to Zero Waste: Repair Cafe

On the Road to Zero Waste: Repair Cafe

Repair Cafes are a fantastic way to learn how to fix something rather than throw it away and are organised and managed by volunteers. Donate as little or as much as you like to help them buy kit to help others (like tools to measure electrical current). You can find your local repair cafe here: https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/

There are places around Switzerland, specifically Geneva (as I will be going there): https://repaircafe.org/en/location/repair-cafe-geneve/
Italy: There is Facebook Page for Repair Cafe Italia https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community-Organization/Repair-Cafe-Italia-515658335242227/

In other places they have variations of the name, such as in Singapore it is known as Repair Kopitiam. Same principals where you have knowledgeable people who volunteer their time to help you learn how to fix something. In Singapore, they helped my family learn how to put together a broken hot pot as well as find out the induction cooker had stopped working due to a cockroach infestation. All fixed by the end and all learned a new skill.


Avoid bad apples if you want to continue to enjoy the right to repair!

…as if we aren’t disposable enough…. there are organisations who want to stop everyone’s Right to Repair like big tech companies:


Jan 2019 – the EU will ratify legislation obliging manufacturers to make their products longer-lasting and easier to repair  which will be enforced by 2021: https://resource.co/article/eu-paves-way-right-repair-13045

And hopefully 18 US states will also have something similar in place:

Thank you to all those who have fought for our right to repair in the EU and hope this continues around the world.

Reading Repair Cafe

In the UK, I visited the Reading Repair Cafe and was again impressed by the folk who knew stuff and were willing to share their knowledge to help you repair:

  • Clothing items
  • Electronics (even got a solar panel fixed!!!)
  • Computer issues
  • Jewelry
  • Mechanical Things
  • Bicycles (Adrian’s knowledge is totally AWESOME. Taught me some very cool tricks to repair a puncture)
  • … and were also having a bake off 😉

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So the next time something is broken, you might consider using a repair cafe to help you understand what you need to do to fix it.

But Let’s Get Back to Bicycles

I hear of so many people with bicycles rotting in their shed. I see many bicycles go to the dump. If you don’t want your bicycle please donate your bicycle to someone who wants it or take it over to your local bicycle kitchen and learn to fix it.

Here are some of the places and am sure a search in your local area might surprise you. 

Reading: http://www.readingbicyclekitchen.org/

London: https://lbk.org.uk/

Bristol: https://thebristolbikeproject.org/about-us/join-the-co-op/

So get that broken bicycle out of your shed over to a bicycle kitchen + you might find a handy bicycle workshop useful to help you understand about maintenance. There is a bicycle maintenance course (Reading) coming soon in April presented by the awesome Adrian: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bike-maintenance-course-tickets-55132912024

Or otherwise look for places that will sell you a second hand bicycle.

You’ll help the planet by swapping your car for your bicycle (you can check how much carbon emissions you have saved here: https://tyrelady.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/low-carbon-zero-waste-journey-choosing-my-poison-1-2/)

Geneva Marathon

If you are going to Geneva for the marathon, you can purchase a second hand bicycle (as well as rent a bicycle): http://www.geneva.info/bike/

Trieste, Italy

If you’re at the 10K Mujalonga Sul Mar https://mujalongasulmar.com/ the Dolomites are close by. If you’re there, you can rent a bicycle to ride there!

Will you pledge to ride a bicycle or walk to work instead of taking the car?

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