According to the National Environment Agency, Singapore produces 60,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. This is equivalent to the weight of 220 Airbus A380 aeroplanes. Aside from reducing, reusing and recycling the usual suspects, you can take it one step further with by fixing your electronics with Repair Kopitiam.
In preparation of a cross-country move, in the last month, I’ve thrown away a flat iron, a mini food processor, an immersion blender and a travel iron. All of these items have broken over the years, and two of them were in new condition. I even have a lovely memory of leaving my Magic Bullet out for my boyfriend to fix, which never happened (does it ever) and I tossed that too. The thought never crossed my mind to fix these items myself — until now.
Repair Kopitiam is a Facebook Group that’s a shining example of social media being used for positive change. The group of more than 10,000 has been making waves combatting the growing e-waste problem and changing the buy-and-throw culture in Singapore. They do this by teaching residents how to repair their broken electronic items instead of throwing them away and buying new ones.
The group is founded by Veerappan Swaminathan, who started the page as a channel to share repair tips and raise awareness for his upcoming repair sessions. Eventually, that page evolved into a group of people who also wanted to share their knowledge and help people. Today that group consisted of more than 500 people who are keen on making a change across the country.
What is Repair Kopitiam
Repair Kopitiam is a group of like-minded volunteers that are trained to be repair coaches. What this means is they don’t actually fix things for people, but instead they help them. Oftentimes it can be a collaborative effort of various people with various skills fixing an item, and everyone walks away with new knowledge.
How It Works
Through a Facebook page, people can post the items they have and ask the community if it’s something that can be done at home or if they have to bring it to a repair session. The Repair Kopitiam public sessions are held every month in three locations around Singapore.
When It Happens
Repair Kopitiam is held on the last Sunday of every month between 10 am – 2 pm. Find out where here.
What They Fix
There is (almost) nothing they won’t try and fix, but their strengths lie in anything from electronic appliances like ovens, irons and kid’s toys to fabrics, furniture and other devices — like sewing machines, which are costly to both fix and replace.
Where To Find Them
Connect with Repair Kopitiam on their Facebook page here.
Some Interesting Facts
Looking to Volunteer
Repair Kopitiam needs your help. To join the community and become a Repair Coach, join the next training session in April. Repair Coach Training runs a season each quarter starting in Jan, Apr, Jul and Oct every year. You must attend all 10 Sundays Find information here.
See It Happen
Watch Repair Kopitiam in action here.