Rijeka Repair Cafe sees experts repair broken items for free


April 21, 2022 – Have you ever wished you lived about a century ago when fixing things was the norm and we lived in a less “disposable” type of society? Rijeka’s hangout café, Riperaj, brings these ideals to life.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Swedish town of Eskilstuna, near the city of Stockholm, knows how to turn waste into profit and focus on sustainable consumption and the circular economy, where the second-hand shopping center ReTuna Återbruksgalleria, the world’s first center for recycled and upcycled products, opened in 2015.

The very popular Swedish department store IKEA also opened its second-hand store in the same location two years ago. The center is located next to the local recycling centre, and the whole concept works so that customers can donate items they no longer need and in return buy something else, refurbished or reused, or from organic and sustainable production. Collected objects provided by customers are then sorted and transported to workshops where they are repaired, reused or restored.

Then the sorting center in Returen starts selling these items: furniture, hardware, clothing, toys, bicycles, building materials, bookstores, design… Those interested can book a guided tour to see how this innovative center works in the backstage. .

ReTuna organizes various types of workshops, conferences and events dedicated to sustainability issues in the training center, and on top of all this, the whole concept has provided many new jobs, especially for migrants.

IKEA, which opened a similar store, said in 2020 more than 80% of donated furniture was in excellent condition, meaning it could offer it to customers again after refurbishment and cleaning. So in just one year, more than 30,000 IKEA products, which would otherwise end up being thrown away, have found their purpose again, especially as this department store is committed to achieving positive business transformation to climate by 2030. .

In 2019 alone, the ReTuna Center earned 14.7 million Swedish crowns (more than ten million kuna) for selling recycled products. Since this business concept has yielded great results, ReTuna will continue to operate throughout 2022 as a great practical example that has attracted many big players.

Great interest has been shown by the inhabitants of Rijeka…

Here in Croatia there is also a valuable project which is mainly focused on sustainability, and it is important to give some background first. A recent survey by MEP Biljana Borzan showed that people often replace an old device with a new one instead of repairing it because they say it is not profitable or beneficial for them, and thus the waste pile increases further.

She said that in the event of a breakdown, 8% of people would simply buy a new device, with 90% of them believing that spare parts are too expensive compared to the price of a new one and, therefore, often more reliable. device.

However, in this regard, the Republic of Croatia has some positive examples that challenge this problem and contribute to sustainability – this is Rijeka’s Riperaj, which was opened in 2019 in the city center by the Municipal Cleanliness Company of Rijeka.

They wanted, as they say, to prevent the production of waste and to encourage a positive habit of repairing instead of throwing away broken or damaged items, with the hope that with a little effort to repair and/or reuse old things , there can be many positive effects.

“We live in a society that increasingly encourages excessive consumption, lightly tossing out old items and simply buying new ones. Therefore, it’s no surprise that small home repairs and DIYs are disappearing We are pleased with the reactions, interest and participation of people because Riperaj has been recognized from the beginning and very well accepted as a place for everyone where you can repair damaged objects and devices for daily use, free of charge, with the help of an expert or independently, in a well-equipped space, instead of throwing things away and thus accumulating even more waste.The main objective of Riperaj is to provide all interested people with the space, tools and advice they need to repair small appliances, objects, clothes or, for example, toys,” explained Mirta Stipec.

All over Europe there have been special places called ”Repair cafés” which have been springing up for many years now, where, with a cup of coffee or tea, interested people can repair their broken or damaged objects and things that they use every day instead of throwing them away. Riperaj will hopefully set such an example here in Croatia.

The goal is for owners to fix their items themselves, but when they get stuck, experts from various fields who share their knowledge and skills also help users fix those issues. Users themselves buy the parts that need to be replaced on their devices or items. However, unlike other services, users who visit Riperaj do not need to leave their items for repair, but most often leave with them repaired the same day.

Since opening, over 3,500 items have been repaired, meaning fewer things have been thrown away, money has been saved and people have become more aware of their role in creating a sustainable community.

“There really are so many things that can be repaired in Riperaj – from small household appliances (blenders, irons, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners…), to furniture, clothes, toys, bicycles, umbrellas… to any other items you don’t want to delete yet.

As such, the very concept of Riperaj implies that the owners of the damaged objects themselves participate in the repairs, obviously, in collaboration with the various Riperaj experts. Upon arrival, each user becomes familiar with the house rules of Riperaj and participates in their repair to the extent of their own abilities, using their own knowledge and skills.

In short, an important part of the Riperaj concept is to master the skill of simple repairs on the example of minor malfunctions (eg replacement of hair dryer cables) which can then be independently applied in everyday life. While it may be easier to bring a damaged item to a repair shop, you will certainly not be actively participating in the establishment of a sustainable circular economy, while in Riperaj you have a unique opportunity to learn how to fix a damaged or broken item and keep using it for as long as possible.

In Riperaj’s own words, you can brag to your friends that you have used Riperaj because you also master special knowledge that can be very useful to you at some point. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that this saves money on repairs and, perhaps more importantly, directly affects waste reduction,” Stipec said.

To find out more, see our section dedicated to lifestyle.


About Author

Comments are closed.