Earlier this week, Minnesota Public Radio broadcast a short story about Hennepin County’s Fix-It Clinics, events where people can bring broken items to be repaired by knowledgeable volunteers. Organized by Hennepin County Environmental Services, the Fix-It Clinics occur once a month at locations throughout the Twin Cities Metro. Attendees can bring small electronics like toasters, remote controls, or dvd players, or clothes in need of mending, and are encouraged to bring their own tools and be prepared to get their hands dirty while learning a thing or two. Volunteer “fixers” are on-hand to inspect, troubleshoot, and repair items.
The goal of the Fix-It Clinic is to reduce the amount of waste we produce as consumers, or to use Hennepin County’s simpler terms, “to reduce the amount of stuff that gets thrown in the trash.” The clinics also highlight and teach valuable repair skills, reminding one of the skilled workers at the mom-and-pop radio repair shop around the corner, or the shoe repair guy that’s been in your neighborhood for decades. The clinics are part of an international trend focused on repairing possessions and reducing consumption. Recently, the New York Times reported on Amsterdam’s Repair Café, and the Huffington Post publicized Brooklyn’s Fixers’ Collective.
The next Fix-It Clinic will be held at the Brookdale Library in Brooklyn Center. You can find more information about Fix-It Clinics and upcoming events at the Hennepin County website. And if you’d like to help promote the Fix-It Clinics or other Hennepin County environmental initiatives, the County has put together and handy promotional toolkit. So next time you’re about to throw something away, stop and ask yourself if your blender is really broken. It might just be sick, and if so, a trip to the clinic is in order.