Athens Repair Cafe

Athens-Clarke County Recycling Division is partnering with an international organization, Repair Café, to promote the concept of reuse and repair through designated event days in which we invited community members with broken items, and community members with the skills and tools to repair those items, to a common space in order to work together to fix these items and keep them out of the landfill. 

What is a Repair Café?

We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge, and against their will they are often left standing on the sidelines. Their skills are never used, or hardly ever. The Repair Café changes all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge is getting passed on. Things are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released. The Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light, and to, once again, appreciate their value. The Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society. But most of all, the Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go?

The repairs at the Repair Café are free. Isn’t that unfair competition for professional repairers like seamstresses and bicycle repair shops?

The people visiting the Repair Cafés at the moment are not customers of professional repairers. They are people who are now tossing out their broken bedside lamp, blender, chair or coat because getting it repaired is more expensive than buying a new one. By helping people in the Repair Café fix their item, we avoid them having to buy a new one. Furthermore, visitors of the Repair Café learn that their items can be fixed a lot more easily than they might have thought. That way, the chance that they will bring their broken items to a professional repairer in the future will increase rather than decrease. And finally, people used to repair all kinds of stuff at home while there were also professional repairers at work. The thought that repairing items yourself is competition for professional repairers, is not based on experiences of the past. The reason that professional repairers are struggling and disappearing is subject to reasons found elsewhere in our economic system. For example, taxes on raw materials are often very low whereas tax on labor is high. Something to consider!

Next Repair Cafe is scheduled for


To learn more about Repair Cafes visit