The City of Eugene’s Waste Prevention program received a $35,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and an additional $35,000 grant from the Urban Sustainability Directors Network to test the concept of “repair cafes” in Eugene. Repair cafes provide free meeting places for people to come to repair common household items like clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, electronics, and toys. The locations also include tools and often volunteers or professionals who can provide advice and help make the repairs. The goal of repair cafes is to reduce waste by repairing rather than throwing items away.
In the Eugene area, Lane County has piloted several small-scale cafés in the past few years. This project will expand upon that work and aims to find out if cafes are an effective way to engage Eugene residents in repairing their belongings. This project will explore the use of repair cafes as a way to reduce trash, extend the useful life of household goods, and, ultimately, encourage more repair activities.
Repair cafés and Fix-it Clinics in other communities have proven to be easy-to-support programs that boost product lifespan and reduce both consumption and waste. Eugene’s pilot will build off of the success of repair café events hosted in a number of cities, including Portland, Corvallis, Minneapolis, and many others. While currently in the research and development phase, the repair café events will take place starting next summer in Eugene.
For more information, visit the website www.eugenerecycles.org.