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ENVIRONMENT

New cafe to reduce waste The art of repair has been lost, but one man is determined to change that

local news

CHRIS CONNOLLY

@connolly2204

T

he knowledge of how to repair things has disappeared, according to The Bower’s Guido Verbist. He is hoping to revive it with the opening of Australia’s first Repair Cafe. The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre in Addison Road already collects preloved household goods and, through its members, repairs them before reselling them to the local community, diverting ‘waste’ from the Sydney metropolitan waste stream. Mr Verbist, the Bower’s manager, now wants to extend that service by teaching people how to go about repairing things themselves. The Repair Cafe is based on an idea developed in the Netherlands five years ago which has now spread to more than 300 different sites in 13 countries. “The Repair Cafe provides a free meeting place where members of the community can learn the art of repair in a collaborative setting, fostering a culture of creativity, repair and re-use,” Mr Verbist said. “We throw away piles of stuff. Even things which practically have nothing wrong, and which could easily be used again after a simple repair.”

The Bower’s Guido Verbist wants to revive the art of repair

Mr Verbist said the Repair Cafe will be open from 1pm to 5pm every Wednesday starting on May 14 with a range of experts available including: electricians, IT specialists, carpenters, general furniture repairers, and a bicycle mechanic to help make all possible repairs free of charge. Tools and materials will also be on hand and visitors are invited to bring along their broken items from home to have a crack at repairing them themselves. “Toasters, lamps, hair dryers, bikes, toys, crockery... anything that is broken is welcome and can more than likely be repaired,” Mr Verbist said. “The Repair Cafe just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is.” He is hoping the idea will spread now it has started in Australia and said Leichhardt Council has already shown an interest, booking two workshops for its residents. “I’d like to see more Councils organising Repair Cafes in their areas once or twice a year. Then you could have a team of tradespeople travelling from place to place spreading the word,” he said. The Bower also hosts a range of workshops on topics such as furniture restoration, recycled art, chair upholstery, shabby chic and book binding.

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Friday 9 May 2014 the inner city weekender

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Inner City Weekender May 9  

May 9 edition of the ICW

Inner City Weekender May 9  

May 9 edition of the ICW