Zero Waste Spotlight: Repair Cafe Toronto

We’re highlighting community groups and initiatives that are showing how Toronto can get to zero waste. You can read more about the zero waste vision in Zero Waste Toronto: A Vision for Our City.

Repair Cafe Toronto

Reducing waste through repairing

The Problem:

Too often, things we own break and we don’t personally have the tools, knowledge or skills to fix them. Without these tools and skills, repairable household items are ending up in our landfill.

The Solution:

You’ve probably heard of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), but there’s another “R” that can help reduce the amount of waste we create: REPAIR! Communities are coming together to shares tools and knowledge to mend and repair items instead of disposing of them.


The Repair Cafe:

The philosophy behind repair cafes is to foster a culture of repairing, rather than of disposal. The first repair cafe began in Amsterdam in 2009. Since then, more than 1000 repair cafes have started in 20 countries across the world, including Toronto’s own Repair Cafe in 2013.

Repair Cafe Toronto is a volunteer run, grassroots organization that teaches people how to repair broken household items. Volunteer “fixers” help repair broken household items according to their expertise, including small appliances, electronics, clothing, jewelry, books and more. While some of these items can be recycled, repair is a better alternative. In 2015 alone, over 1000 people participated in their 11 monthly events, helping to divert more than 1050 items from Toronto landfills.

Repair Cafe Toronto continues to grow, reaching out to various community groups to co-host events, and collaborating with the City through the Toronto Public Library. Repairing is a great way to reduce the amount of raw materials and energy used to create new products - and it’s a fun way for neighbours to come together.

(Have something to fix? Head on over to their monthly Repair Cafe this Saturday!)