Sustainable Saratoga and the Saratoga Springs Public Library recently hosted their fourth Repair Café this past Saturday. June marks the one-year anniversary of starting Repair Café in Saratoga. What is a Repair Café? Repair Café is a free community event with the goals of repairing broken objects to extend their life, keeping things out of landfills, and fostering an appreciation for the art of repairing things.

“The popularity of the repair movement is growing around the world” explains Wendy Mahaney, Manager of Sustainable Saratoga. “People are becoming increasingly mindful of ways to reduce their waste, and fixing things to extend their useful life is a great way to do just that.”

People simply bring in their broken items to a Repair Café and volunteer repair coaches help them to repair the items free of charge. The repair coaches bring their tools, and the two organizations provide some of the common supplies needed for general repairs. “The coaches don’t just fix things” says Margie Shepard, co-chair of Sustainable Saratoga’s Zero Waste committee, “they help teach people how to repair and promote a mindset of fixing things before simply deciding to replace them. We are helping people and the environment; it is a real win-win.”

The Saratoga Repair Café has fixed turn-tables, clocks, fans, umbrellas, lamps, jackets, stuffed animals, wooden chairs, ceramics, bikes, strollers, necklaces, bracelets, toasters, computers, and much more. To date, the Repair Café in Saratoga has repaired almost 200 items. But Jennifer Ferriss, Head of Circulation and Technical Services at the library, stresses that it is not just about getting things fixed. “Programs like the Repair Café offer an opportunity for the community to come together to learn about the art of repair but also discuss the frustrations that the things they buy don’t last long. Having a place to have these conversations and learn from each other is a wonderful benefit of this event.”

There are several other Repair Cafés in our area, including one at the Schuylerville Public Library on July 20 and one at the Schenectady County Public Library on July 27.

You can learn more about Repair Café, including how you can volunteer to help, at https://www.sustainablesaratoga.org/projects/zero-waste/repair-cafe-saratoga-springs/