When was the last time you threw away an appliance without trying to fix it, and easily bought a new one? Every year an average Dane throws out 13 kg of electronic waste, all together around 81,000 tons of electronic waste per year is thrown out in Denmark.
But why throw out when you can fix it? Repair Café Odense invites to come and get your clothes, furniture, electrical appliances and bicycles fixed by skilled volunteers. For free!
The first Repair Café was organised back in 2009 in Amsterdam by Martine Postma. Since then it became an international movement with repair cafés popping up around the globe. Repair Café Odense is the first officially registered Repair Café in Denmark, though similar initiatives are being organised in Copenhagen and Aarhus.
Repair Café Odense is organised by a mixed group of volunteers, interested in creating a sustainable future. Keshav Parajuly and Shristi Sharma, from Nepal, together with a group of volunteers started Repair Café in Odense.
What inspired you to start Repair Café initiative in Odense?
Keshav: I am an environmental engineer and I focus on resource recovery and electronic waste in my research. I am interested in sustainability. One night before going to sleep I was scrolling through LinkedIn, and saw a post about Repair Café in some other country. It instantly caught my attention. The other morning I talked with my colleagues at the University of Southern Denmark and they thought it is a great idea, let's do it.
In Nepal, where I come from, throwing things away is not a common culture. When I was a child I was listening to a radio which was older than my older brother. It was there for more than 18 years.
Waste is a big problem. Only one third of Europe’s electronic waste is being properly recycled. We want to sell more, we want to have more, so we simply throw things out and buy new ones. We should teach our children that that is not okay to do.
What is the purpose of Repair Café?
Shristi: The main idea is to stop the throw away culture that we have right now. Lots of people throw away things that are still working, just need a minor fix. When doing research at Odense Renovation Kashev found a vacuum cleaner, which was working well, you just needed to change the bag inside and sadly the owner probably did not know that.
Keshav: The idea behind Repair Café is not only to help people fix their stuff, but also to create awareness that things can be fixed. In a way, it is a form of education: we want people to learn how to fix, so they do not have to come here every time.
Repair Café is powered by volunteers, right?
Keshav: Yes. After we created Facebook page, we started to get messages from people interested to help out and be a part of the initiative.
Shristi: Today in our first Repair Café we have 12 volunteers ready to fix bikes, textile, furniture, electronics and mobile. We found our first volunteers through our network, and others found us themselves, after they have heard about the initiative.
We are always looking for people willing to help and volunteer in future events. We plan to have one Repair Café per month. The next event is on the 22nd of April, in Vollsmose Torv. Stop by!
Would you like to be a part of Repair Café Odense? Follow along on Facebook and stay updated about upcoming events.
Learn more about Repair Café and get to know how to start one in your city here.
Hungry for more? Follow joyfultalks on Facebook for more inspiring stories.