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This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Repair at One of Two Upcoming Dare to Repair Cafes

While the winter holiday season brings tidings of comfort and joy for most people, it also brings a lot more solid waste to the landfill, harm to the environment and additional debt to the average American family. Studies have shown that Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!

Instead of gifting something new, why not repair what you’ve got? Your dad’s old record player that just can’t seem to spin vinyl like it used to? Dare to Repair it! Your great grandma’s antique lamp that hasn’t cast a warm glow since her speakeasy days? Dare to Repair it!

The organizers behind WNY’s Dare to Repair Cafes are asking people to rethink waste this holiday season and give the gift of repair by attending one of two upcoming events:

For those unfamiliar with the initiative, the Dare to Repair Cafe is Buffalo’s take on the global Repair Café movement, which started more than 10 years ago in Amsterdam. Conceived as a way to rethink waste and transform our throw away economy at the local level, the Repair Café model has since spread to more than 50 countries with nearly 47 cafés now active in the US.

At each event, Dare to Repair volunteer “fixers” work side-by-side with attendees to repair their items for free, saving them the cost of replacement and teaching them the necessary skills to make similar repairs in the future. Items that can be repaired include: electronics, small appliances, toys, clothing, furniture, and more. The event is meant to reduce the amount of trash entering the waste stream, pass on traditional repair skills and knowledge, and foster community and sustainability. 

Started back in 2017 as a collaboration between the City of Buffalo Department of Recycling and The Tool Library, The Dare to Repair Cafe has diverted 337 items and nearly 2660lbs of waste from local landfills over the course of 16 events. All of this is made possible thanks to the blood, sweat, and copious amounts of solder from more than a dozen volunteers. From event organizers to the expert fixers, Dare to Repair Cafes rely on a dedicated group of individuals who believe small changes locally can have a big impact on some of our world’s most pressing challenges.

Other partners in the initiative include: Knowledgefire, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, The Foundry, Valu Home Centers, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Friends of Reinstein Woods, UB Sustainability, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, Say Yes Buffalo/BPS Community Schools, Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP), and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries.

Dare to Repair Cafes are all-volunteer events made possible with funding support from the Clif Bar Family Foundation.

Interested in becoming a fixer? Sign up to share your skills today!

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Written by Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton

Darren Cotton works as Director of Community Development & Planning at the University District Community Development Association (UDCDA). His work primarily focuses on housing rehabilitation, small business development, and community capacity building in the neighborhood's surrounding the University at Buffalo's South Campus. Prior to this, Darren served as an Associate Planner at the UB Regional Institute working on a regional sustainability initiative, the remediation of industrial brownfields, and an overhaul of Buffalo's zoning code. As a graduate student at UB, Darren founded the University Heights Tool Library in response to his experience renting from an absentee landlord. With a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies and Linguistics and a Master's Degree in Urban Planning all from UB, Darren works to bridge the gap between research, policy, and grassroots activism and is a firm believer that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

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