But there is a growing army of volunteers determined to tackle our throwaway culture – and help the planet in the process.
Many landfill items could easily be given a new lease of life and continue to be used for years with a simple repair.
All over the world, repair cafes have sprung up, providing the opportunity for people to share their skills and repair broken and damaged items.
At the Telford Repair Cafe, volunteer repairers help people fix what they already own, saving them money and reducing waste.
It is part of an international Repair Café movement that was started by Martine Postma in Amsterdam in 2009 to fight climate change by bringing communities together.
Today, there are more than 2,200 Repair Cafés in dozens of countries around the world, including Belgium, Germany, France and the United States.
The Telford branch was established as a community interest group in 2018, meeting once a month at a local cafe. Visitors bring their broken items for repair and expert and enthusiastic volunteers fix them.
People can watch the repair being done and even help out so that they can learn how to do it on their own.
If a part is needed to complete the repair, the repairman will give the owner details of the exact part needed and its likely cost to order it and come back on another date to have the repair done.
Volunteers, including helpers from the Men in Sheds community group, with a variety of skills, help fix most items, such as broken vacuums, watches, jewelry, radios, furniture, hems and seams and dull knives.
There is never a charge for a repair, but those who can afford it are encouraged to make a small donation which will be used to finance the rental of the room.
Ann Johnson, who leads the project, says visitors bring an average of 20 items that need a little attention each session.
The repair café meets on the last Saturday of the month at different locations around Telford.
“We will try to fix anything that has stopped working and is too good to throw away or anything someone likes like clothes they don’t want to throw away,” she told Weekend.
There are financial and environmental benefits to trying to fix things instead of throwing them away early.
“It saves people money and keeps things from going to landfill. I think more and more people are seeing it as part of the big environmental challenge we all face.
“It can be easy to think that saving the environment is such a big challenge that it is bigger than what we can do as individuals. But there are little things we can all do in as individuals who add up.
“We all know about recycling waste, but not throwing out things that can be repaired is another thing we can do. Repairs mean you can keep using this item, it keeps its life.
“I took some jeans that I love, but they looked pretty threadbare. They were patched for me so I could continue to wear them.
“It’s not just about the repairs, the volunteers get a lot out of it and they like to fix things. And I think people like to learn the practical skills because not many people know how to fix things these days,” adds Ann.
Among the items brought in at a recent meeting at the Donnington Community Hub was a rickshaw, foot spa and a children’s toy, demonstrating the variety of repairs the team can undertake.
Last year, Telford Repair Cafe received a £ 2,500 cash boost from the EnviroGrant fundraising program run by Veolia in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council.
“We bought a lot of equipment that people tend to need, like fuses, tools and aprons to keep our volunteers safe. We also purchased PAT (wearable device testing) equipment and also trained our volunteers to safely check electrical devices, ”says Anne.
Telford Repair Cafe is keen to help promote awareness of the benefits of repairing items rather than throwing them away before the end of their useful life.
“Our hope is to encourage more communities and neighborhoods to create theirs. We have a lot of plans for the future, we would love to be able to go to schools to fix uniforms so people don’t have to replace them all the time, ”Ann says.
The next Telford Repair Cafe meetings will be at Brookside Central, Burford, Brookside, Telford, TF3 1LP on January 29 and February 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
* The Repair Café team is always looking for volunteers. If you have a skill or like to fix things and want to help out, they would love to hear from you. People can also help with organization, administration, marketing, and welcoming visitors.
Send an email to [email protected] or fill out the contact form on telfordrepaircafe.co.uk