Toasters, table lamps, your favorite pair of jeans, and the family computer. What do all these things have in common? When our personal items struggle to keep up with meeting our needs, whether it's due to a torn belt loop or a frayed electrical cord, they often end up in a landfill. The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council, in partnership with Affinity Credit Union, is taking action to prevent these common household items from reaching the landfill by breathing new life into those things that can be repaired rather than replaced. This initiative is reaching Weyburn on October 7th with a free Repair Cafe' held at the Leisure Centre. 

Volunteers from the community have stepped up to offer their repair skills to help you save money and reduce our local waste. Heidi Watson saw the value in this opportunity when she came across a Facebook advertisement from the Sask. Waste Reduction Council, and decided to take action by signing up as a volunteer for the event.

"Over the last 5 years I've gotten really into Minimalism and that overall waste reduction theme, and thought this would be a great chance to get more involved in Weyburn and get into these community initiatives. I volunteered for the sewing station, but that's already full, so I'm going to drag my brother along to work the computer station."

One way that Heidi hopes to reduce our local waste is by assisting those with older pieces of technology which still function but are no longer needed or wanted. These unwanted and unused gadgets such as smartphones, tablets and computers can be wiped clean of personal information and be used again by somebody who is currently without and unable to afford the price of buying new. Heidi says that she can prepare your old tech for donation in a snap, and also provide a tune-up to the tech you're still currently using. 

"I'm pretty good at clearing up browsers that have gotten lagged down with lots of add-ons or ads, or all those things that tend to slow your computer down. We'll also have some cleaning supplies to clean the computers themselves, sort of blow the dust out and keep them working properly, and I can touch on some of those basic computer skills that not everybody has. My brother has actually built computers from scratch, so he's there to help with things a little more advanced."

Bobbie Duns, event organizer from the Sask. Waste Reduction Council, says that the stations available at these Free Cafe's always depend on the volunteers available in each community. While those with professional backgrounds are highly sought after, so are those with personal repair experience.

"The different stations available always depend on volunteers. Currently we have a clothing and fabric mending station, one for small electronics like blenders, toasters and lamps, and a computer repair station. We mostly find our volunteers through word of mouth and social media. Some might be professional repair people, for example they might own a bike repair shop or work there for their day job, and they might bring those skills as a volunteer and repair bikes over the weekend. Lots of our volunteers are not professionals though, they're just 'Average Joes' with a sewing machine willing to come in and spend their time mending fabric."

The debut of Weyburn's first Repair Cafe' was made possible by donations of time by volunteers, repair supplies through the monetary support of Affinity Credit Union, and the use of a venue which was offered free of charge by the City of Weyburn. Duns shares that because these pop-up events are completely free, the cost of venues are typically the deciding factor of whether or not they can organize a Repair Cafe' in various communities. 

"Somebody at the City of Weyburn offered to let use the Weyburn Leisure Centre for our venue, which is always our biggest cost. Having a low-cost or free venue is the easiest way to make these things happen. We can host a Repair Cafe' anywhere in Saskatchewan as long as we have volunteers and a venue to use, just email me at" 

Weyburn's first Repair Cafe' is part of an initiative by the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council which aligns with October being Waste Reduction Month. They are currently pushing for many of these events across the province, and are interested in breaking into new communities to share the benefits of re-using rather than replacing. They hope that by organizing these events to get communities started, they will see the value in continuing with regular events of their own, organized on the local level. 

To book your repair appointment, sign up as a repair volunteer, or to find more information about the event at the Weyburn Leisure Centre this Saturday, visit the Sask. Waste Reduction Council Website. Drop-ins are welcome on October 7th between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. but scheduling your appointment is encouraged. Share in the joy of reducing our local waste and share in the savings of reusing your beloved personal items rather than replacing them, thanks to this free event open to the entire community. 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, we encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWeyburn app