Household objects destined for landfill could get a second lease on life from volunteers with a knack for fixing broken things.
That is the premise of the Bendigo Repair Cafe, a community initiative slated to begin in April.
The idea, which originated in the Netherlands, sees people mend their damaged bits and bobs with help from expert “fixers”.
Organiser Elsie L’Huillier saw firsthand the impact a newfound skill had on attendees’ confidence while at a repair cafe in Footscray.
“Young women come in to hem their jeans and, while you might think it's so basic, they feel really great about learning that,” Ms L’Huillier said.
Cushion covers, ukuleles and ceramic vases were just a few of the items people brought for repair.
The cafe concept was an antidote to the amount of waste people created, Ms L’Huillier said.
“The amount of stuff we have to produce in our lives has become crazy.”
Councillor Jennifer Alden and Bendigo Sustainability Group’s Chris Corr are pushing for the cafe, which would become one of about 1000 similar initiatives around the world.
An Albury-Wodonga repair cafe in operation since November, 2015, has quickly become Australia’s largest, with as many as 65 people attending the monthly meet-ups.
Founder Lizette Salmon said attendees were “old and young, rich and poor”, but widows and widowers often asked for help with tasks their late spouses would have done.
As much as 80 per cent of the items brought to the cafe were saved from the scrap heap, Ms Salmon said.
Ms L’Huillier put the popularity of repair cafes down to people’s “tribal, social” drive to belong.
“We actually do need each other to produce or share things,” she said.
“It's a bit of a natural response to what seems like the greedy getting totally out of control.”
But the initiative did not mean a hard rubbish collection was unnecessary in Bendigo, Ms L’Huillier said, saying a regular kerbside pick-up was a way to remove unusable waste.
The first Bendigo repair cafe will take place next month at The Good Loaf on Hargreaves Street.
People interested in becoming a fixer can leave a message on the Bendigo repair cafe Facebook page.