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From Stuffed Animals to Vacuum Cleaners, ‘Repair Cafes’ are Extending Consumer Product Lifecycles

What began in 2009 as a pop-up phenomenon in the Netherlands now has 1,100 chapters in nearly 30 countries, the NY Times reports.

If you’ve ever despaired of getting your vacuum cleaner fixed or thought that your broken lamp was a lost cause, there’s hope. A worldwide movement is trying to reform our throwaway approach to possessions.

The movement’s foundation is the Repair Cafe, a local meeting place that brings together people with broken items and repair coaches, or volunteers, with the expertise to fix them.

The cafes have taken root in 11 states, including New York, where they are most prevalent in the Hudson Valley: Eight exist and more are on the way. John Wackman of Kingston, N.Y., who organized the cafe in New Paltz, N.Y., in 2013 and coordinates the others in the Hudson Valley, said the region was home to “people who are sustainability-minded” and have a “strong ethos of community.”

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