From Waste to Waste Not: Remakeries are Stumbling Across the Globe and They Are Doing A Lot More Than Just Keeping Waste Out of Landfills
What is a remakery?
A remakery, also sometimes referred to as a repair cafe, is a community space dedicated to repairing used clothes, technology, small appliances, and furniture. With thousands of household items diverted from landfills, it is inspiring to see this start up all over the globe.
The concept is not new as people have been repairing things since the beginning of time. However, remakeries are bringing back our long traditions of fixing while building community through education, workshops, and teaching skills that have almost been forgotten.
Where are they?
In a small town of Willimantic, Connecticut, three years ago, the community started a repair cafe. Neighbors continue to gather once a season to repair household items. Tools are available for use and everything from electronics to furniture is restored.
Not only are items repaired, but a community is built. People in the small town of Willimantic, gather to fix items, as well as connect with one another. While mending and repairing, skills are learned. This opens up new avenues of employment.
The Remakery in London, a former underground parking garage, is a creative workshop space that has tools, storage space, and materials for artists, businesses, and local residence. It is a space to create and fix any kind of item. This cooperative is committed to not only diverting items to the landfill but also creating employment and business opportunity. Members of the Remakery can make items and then sell those items, as well learn skills that translate to employment.
In Scotland, The Edinburgh Remakery is an award-winning enterprise that inspires a network of remakeries around the UK. Along with community space dedicated to repairing used items, people also donate items to be repaired and resold. Community members are also able to participate in workshops and courses.
The Melbourne Repair Cafe, in Australia holds free monthly repair cafe sessions at the Yarraville Community Centre. It allows community members to bring in broken items and fix them for free. Along with free use, people can become a volunteer and share their skills with other local residents.
If you are looking to find a repair cafe near you:
Check out this world map. It is a directory of local repair cafes that you can join and become a part of. https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/
While you may not yet have a repair cafe or remakery happening in your town, you can now find many options on how to fix things in your home. Check out this excellent website: https://www.ifixit.com
Remakeries are fixing our communities through the connection of remaking. With the rise of social enterprise, cooperatives, and community space, remakeries are showing their way into many towns, cities, and villages. If you feel called to set one up in your town, you will be doing a lot more than just diverting the waste stream. You will be building community, employment opportunity , and skills.
About The Author: Katie Massy is an organic farmer, cultivating soil and spirit in the Gulf Islands of B.C., Canada. She is the founder and director of Women Who Farm. Her life, beyond counting worms and witnessing miracles daily, is filled with weekly visits to the sea, walks with the old momma trees, and enjoying a strong brew of something.
Check out her Farm Heart and Soil Organics