Repair Cafe events around the world enlist savvy volunteers to fix broken lamps, bicycles, electronics, small appliances, clothing and more

Don’t Throw Away Another Household Item Before Reading This.

If you buy a $20 toaster that goes kaput after a couple of years, you probably don’t think twice about tossing it and buying a new one. After all, that seems like a pretty good deal. But Peter Skinner wants to change that. He wants people to imagine where all those toasters end up and, instead of continuously adding to the waste stream, choose to have those broken appliances repaired for free.

After reading a New York Times article in 2012 about an initiative in the Netherlands called Repair Cafe, Skinner decided to act. The organization puts together events around the world at which community volunteers pitch in to repair appliances, electronics, bicycles and more so they can be reused rather than thrown away. “I thought it was a cool idea,” Skinner says.