Cecile Godel examines a sewing machine during the City of Campbell River’s Repair Cafe at the Sportsplex on Nov. 2, 2019. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirrror

Objects get new life at Campbell River Repair Cafe

Annual event sees volunteer fixers offer skills to community

Campbell Riverites’ broken items got a chance at a second life at the Repair Cafe on Saturday. The City of Campbell River has held the event annually since 2015.

All the fix-it experts who bring their expertise to the Repair Cafe are volunteers. At the Sportsplex on Saturday, they fixed all manner of household electronics, stuffed animals, jewellery, musical instruments, and more.

Organizer Linda Nagle said the event is about helping keep items out of landfills.

In three hours, she estimated the fixers will see about 70 items.

“Turnout today has been very steady,” she said. “The fixers are on the go all day.”

Among them was Geoff Wilson, who brought along his 3D printer.

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His desire to keep consumer goods out of the landfill for the simple reason that a tiny piece of plastic isn’t made or available anymore is what part of what led him to 3D printing.

“You can actually make your own pieces,” he said.

He’s printed custom gears in the machine, tiny accessories for LEGO toys, a plastic panel for a power transformer, even earrings for his mom.

She loves them, he said, “They’re nice and light and made by her son.”

In addition to the many fixers, Comox Strathcona Waste Management’s Community Events Educator Lindsay Eason was on-site to provide information about strategies to reduce common household waste.

With Halloween wrapped up, Eason encouraged people to recycle soft plastic candy wrappers. Their recycling category, “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging” was newly added to Recycle BC’s accepted products at depots. Included in the category are crinkly wrappers and bags, flexible packaging with a plastic seal, stand-up and sipper lock pouches, woven and net plastic bags and non-food protective packaging.

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Eason also had a selection of zero-waste alternatives to common kitchen and laundry supplies on display. Rather than plastic wrap, she offered beeswax covers; instead of dryer sheets, felted dryer balls and even reusable cloth bags instead of ziplocks.

“There’s a real buzz around zero-waste products right now,” she said.

As the gift-giving season approaches, Eason also had some tips on a zero-waste holiday season.

She encourages people to give the gift of an experience and to give hand-made or repurposed gifts.

To wrap them up, she said to consider reusing old bags or wrap, using cloth or boxes and to “borrow from nature” for wrapping flourishes like cedar boughs or pine cones.


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Geoff Wilson demonstrates his 3D printer at the City of Campbell River’s Repair Cafe at the Sportsplex on Nov. 2, 2019. Photo by Marissa Tiel/Campbell River Mirror