Repair Café. Toss it? No Way!

On June 16, 2018, Sustainable Saratoga and the Saratoga Springs Public Library hosted the first Repair Café in Saratoga Springs. The Repair Café Foundation is an international group that celebrates the art of repairing broken items and keeping things out of the landfill. Almost 40 items were brought in for repairs on Saturday. Bikes, jewelry, jackets, shorts, blinds, toasters, lamps, and vacuums were among the many items that were repaired. The majority of items were fixed, extending their useful life and keeping them out of the trash. While not everything could be repaired on site, everyone was extremely grateful for the assistance of the knowledgeable repair coaches. Some of the comments describing the event included: “Awesome experience!” and “I hope you do this again!” and “I so appreciate that people give up their spare time to help!”

The twelve repair coaches were fantastic and dedicated to their repairs. Bikeatoga also participated, setting up a bike repair station right outside of the Community Room. One woman brought in a 70-year-old automatic toaster that she had received as a wedding gift. It took some patience, but Coach John was able to get it back working. Another highlight was an excited young child, Madison, getting her favorite beach blanket repaired by Coach Jenn. Wendy Mahaney, Manager of Sustainable Saratoga: “I am so happy with how well our first Repair Café went. The repair coaches had a good time, and so did the people bringing in items for repair. It was a wonderful thing to see coaches and patrons with their heads together, trying to fix the items together. And knowing that we saved a bunch of stuff from going into the landfill is the icing on the cake.”

Ike Pulver, director of the Saratoga Springs Public Library: “The Repair Café was one of many examples of how Saratoga Springs Public Library is interweaving our sustainability initiative into our lifelong learning mission, by offering informal educational opportunities that simultaneously foster community and encourage thoughtful use of resources.”

Sustainable Saratoga and the Saratoga Springs Public Library are meeting soon to plan the next Repair Café, so be sure to save your broken items for the next one and check the Repair Café website for udpates.

Young visitors at the Repair Café sewing station
Repairing a jacket at the Repair Café sewing station