Repair cafe combats waste

Bicycle repairer Nick Grinpukel, Councillor Margaret Wood and City of Newcastle Library Partnerships Facilitator Christina Robberds At Lambton Library.

Sustainability principles with a view to creating less waste are the driving force behind an innovative Newcastle Libraries initiative, which aims to teach people new skills to fix broken or damaged items instead of throwing them away.

Newcastle Libraries has launched the free Newcastle Repair Café with the expertise of providers such as Newcastle Toy Library, Upcycle Newcastle and local repairers, operating at the recently re-opened Lambton Library on the last Saturday of each month until June.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the emphasis on circular economy principles and sustainability aligns to the community’s vision for Newcastle.

“Creating a sustainable City has been at the centre of all our decisions, which is why Newcastle Repair Café is a great innovative initiative, fixing items are reused ensuring they don’t end up being sent to landfill prematurely,” Cr Nelmes said.

Ward Three Councillor Margaret Wood said a visit to Newcastle Repair Café is a great way to renew unused household items, with the potential for people to also learn new skills.

“The aim of the repair café is to teach sustainable living skills to our local community through the repair and re-use of old household items, and best of all is that the events are free to attend,“ Cr Wood said. “The Newcastle Repair Cafe is a place where people with items that are in need of repairs can meet skilled repairers to breathe new life into their old items and have the opportunity to learn new skills to use for future repairs.“

The first of four Newcastle Repair Café events at Lambton Library planned for 2022 was held in March, which focused on clothing, small hand tools and bikes.

The 30 April event offered repairs for toys, clothing and bikes with the May event featuring textiles and clothing, and June furniture, small hand tools, clothing and toys.

The June event will also feature a plant and seed swap to promote the benefits of growing produce at home.

Newcastle Libraries is also weighing items presented to the Repair Café, in order to track the volume of items that would have otherwise been disposed of in landfill.

Repair cafés originated in Europe and have since become popular throughout Australia.

The Newcastle Libraries initiative is the only free repair café currently offered in Newcastle. Lambton Library re-opened with extended opening hours in March following extensive renovations including restoration of heritage features and installation of OPEN+ technology.