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Repair Cafe to Keep Stuff Out of Landfills

Last year, Virginia landfills took in more than 20 million tons of stuff --  the equivalent of about 10 million cars.  A group in Charlottesville thinks that’s a shame and  has organized the first annual Repair Café – hoping to keep some things out of local landfills.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

Caroline Laco is the shop manager for Cville Community Bikes.  She’s handy with a wrench, and this Sunday from 3-5, she’ll offer her services to anyone with a broken bicycle.

“I just like helping people," she says with a smile, "and I have a lamp that I'm bringing to be fixed, so I'm hoping to swap some bike repair time for some lamp repair time.”

The event is sponsored by the Charlottesville Time Bank, a reciprocal service exchange where people are rewarded with credits they can use to get other projects done by one of 250 members with suitable skills. 

Bank Co-chair Kathy Kidea says 30 volunteers will be standing by to fix small home appliances, furniture, jewelry and clothing in exchange for time bank dollars and the satisfaction of public service.

“They're people who like to fix things," she says. "They like to know that their skills are put to good use  keeping things out of the landfill, keeping people from having to purchase new, trying to get away from that throwaway mentality.”

She adds, however, that some things can’t be fixed during the café’s two hour event.

“Please don’t bring us microwave ovens, TVs, game systems, power tools, lawn equipment, cell phones, computers or musical instruments.”

There’s no charge for repairs, but Kildea says participants will be invited to join the Time Bank, where they can share their own talents with people seeking other services or lessons without having to spend money. 

For more information, go to www.Cvilletimebank.com