Saving the Planet, One Broken Toaster at a Time

by Debra Weinryb

In the midst of our ‘buy, use, toss’ lifestyle, a sustainable mindset of fixing and reusing items is lost. It seems that the life expectancy of household items is getting shorter, and often people resort to buying new items rather than getting their old items fixed. The Toronto Repair Café plans to reverse this throwaway mentality by making green living consumers more aware of their repair skills and increasing the movement of ‘fixers’ for a repair-driven, environmentally friendly more sustainable future.If your grandparents could repair things when they stopped working, then why can’t we?

Wai Chu Cheng and Paul Magder, co-founders of the Toronto Repair Café, and their supporting team members, Brian Millar, Fern Mosoff, Nat Magder and Robin Magder, are thrilled to be bringing the fixer movement to Toronto. It is a movement that was started by the Repair Café Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organization that provides free repair meeting places throughout the Netherlands. The first Repair Café originated in Amsterdam, and its success and support led to over 80 establishments across the Netherlands, and seven cafés opening in Europe and North America.

By having a free meeting place where people can bring household items to repair and get help fixing them, The Toronto Repair Café aims to fulfill two main objectives: to cut down waste and to build a closer community. It’s open to everyone: the young, the elderly, the retired, newcomers, and anyone else who wants to bring the community closer together. It’s a place for locals to mingle, chat, and make new friends, alongside collectively fixing and reusing items to reduce environmental impact.

“50 Percent of the waste in Toronto goes to the Green Lane landfill located 250 km from Toronto, projected to be filled by 2027. Every one of us can do something – even when you recycle it, you still take energy to recycle materials. We can extend the life of things we are using and hopefully change people’s mindsets. We can fix instead of throwing things away when they aren’t working. We want to retain and preserve these skills to take care of ourselves. Together, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.” – Wai Chu Cheng

When asked about the most exciting part about the Toronto Repair Café, Wai Chu replied, “Everything!” She elaborated, “As an environmentalist, it’s very exciting to anticipate the not too distant future. There is a possibility that instead of going shopping on the weekend, people will go repairing. We have the ability to cause a shift in people’s minds!”

The Toronto Repair Café’s first green living community gathering is happening on May 25th at Skills for Change, 791 St. Clair Ave West. It is a free event thanks to the kind generosity of Skills for Change who backed up the repair café idea and provided the venue. Participants are encouraged to bring appliances and electronic items that need fixing. A group of skilled volunteer ‘fixers’ will share their skills, with the vision that fixers will teach owners how to repair these items themselves.

For more information about the Repair Café Toronto, please visit For more information on the Repair Café organization, please visit If you are looking to volunteer your repair skills as a ‘fixer’ or if you would like to be added to the mailing list to stay updated on the upcoming events, then please contact

[email protected].

Guesties are Besties and we love our guest bloggers! Debra Weinryb takes a dynamic approach to Public Relations. She believes that a story’s most colorful attributes must be conveyed to paint a clear picture in the minds of readers. To read more visit her page

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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