What do you do when you’ve got something you like but it no longer works?  Throw it out and buy a new one?  Stick it in the attic, the basement or under the stairs?  Pay to get it fixed? Chances are you toss it out.  Or maybe you store it away until that magical day when you can figure out what to do with it.... right.

Strategy: We have established a Repair Café on the Westside of Los Angeles to give you another option. The Westside Repair Café is a free, volunteer-run community service dedicated to encouraging the repair and reuse of goods rather than relegating them to landfills.  It is an extension of Our Time Bank’s Sharing Economy program to further support sustainable living solutions.

​Consider this:  In 1960, each person in the US generated 2.68 pounds of waste per day.  By 2000, the average was 4.65 pounds per day.  This is the most in the world. The first Repair Café was started in Amsterdam in 2009. Since then, over 1500 Repair Cafés have sprouted up around the world. 

​How it works:  We will conduct Westside Repair Café events roughly 3x/year.  Bring your items for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair.  We provide the workspace, specialty tools, repair volunteers, and guidance to help you disassemble and troubleshoot your item.  Whether we get it fixed or not, you'll learn more about how it was put together and how it works. You can work with our volunteers to do the repairs yourself (with their guidance) or have them tackle the job directly.  With luck, you’ll walk away with a once-again useful item and some knowledge of how to repair other things in your universe. You would need to provide any parts required for repairs and we encourage small donations to replenish consumable supplies.

​Non-repairable items:  Some items might be candidates for re-cycling or re-purposing.  These items can be reviewed by our team, if desired, to see if recycling or another use for them might be appropriate so they are kept out of our landfills. We will not accept donations of items to be fixed and sold.

​What to bring -  Expertise will vary by event but we try to recruit volunteers to be equipped to diagnose and work on:

 What to expect:  Of course, there is no guarantee you’ll walk out with a workable item.  We may not be staffed with the right skills or equipment; it may take special parts, or it may just not be feasible or cost effective to repair your item.  But we would give it a shot.  If we can’t fix it, we may recommend local repair shops. 

​No Rivalry: The Repair Café Foundation sometimes gets asked whether access to free repair get-togethers is competing with professional repair specialists, but the answer is quite the opposite.  Our volunteers want to use a Repair Café to focus attention on the possibility of getting things repaired, reducing landfills, and building sustainable neighborhoods.  Visitors are frequently advised to go to the few professionals still around.  Furthermore, people who visit Repair Cafés are not usually customers of repair specialists.  They say that they normally throw away broken items because paying to have them repaired is, in general, too expensive.  At the Repair Café they learn that you don’t have to throw things away; there are alternatives to adding waste to our landfills.

​Volunteer:  If you would like to help, please email us at ourtimebank@gmail.com.  We will need volunteers to keep this program alive, so please let us know if you are willing to help.  Please tell us the ways you could help ... you do not need to be an expert to help with repairs and we are always looking for apprentices!  

​Newsletter: Want more info about upcoming events and locations? Sign-up for our monthly email newsletter below. (If you don't see a Repair Café on our events page, then the next one has not been scheduled yet)