A Quick Fix in a Throwaway Culture
Planned obsolescence, a practice  at which
products are designed to have a limited period of  usefulness
, has been a cornerstone of manufacturing strategy for the past 80 years. This approach increases sales, but it also stands in  austere
contrast to a time when goods were produced to be durable. Planned obsolescence wastes materials as well as energy in making and shipping new products. It also reinforces the belief that it is easier to replace goods than to mend them, as repair shops are rare and  repair methods are often specialized
. In 2009, an enterprising movement, the Repair Cafe, challenged this widely accepted belief.
(a) More like a  fair than
an actual cafe, the first Repair Cafe took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. (b) It was the brainchild of former journalist Martine Postma,  wanting
to take a practical stand in a throwaway culture. (c) Her goals were  straightforward, however
: reduce waste, maintain and perpetuate knowledge and skills, and strengthen community. (d) Participants bring all manner of damaged articles - clothing, appliances, furniture, and more - to be repaired by a staff of volunteer specialists including tailors, electricians, and carpenters. (e) Since the inaugural Repair Cafe, others have been hosted in theater foyers, community centers, hotels, and auditoriums. (f) While  they await
for service, patrons can enjoy coffee and snacks and mingle with their neighbors in need. 
Though only about 3 percent of the Netherlands' municipal waste ends up in landfills, Repair Cafes still raise awareness about what may otherwise be mindless acts of waste by providing a venue for people to share and learn valuable skills that are in danger of being lost.  It is easy to classify old but fixable items as "junk" in an era that places great emphasis on the next big thing. In helping people consider how the goods they use on a daily basis work and are made, Repair Cafes restore a sense of relationship between human beings and material goods.
Though the concept remained a local trend at first, international Repair Cafes, all affiliated with the Dutch Repair Cafe via its website, have since arisen in France, Germany, South Africa, the United States, and other countries  on top of that. The original provides a central source for start-up tips and tools, as well as marketing advice to new Repair Cafes. As a result, the Repair Cafe has become a global network united by common ideals. Ironically, innovators are now looking back to old ways of doing things and applying them in today's cities in an effort to transform the way people relate to and think about the goods they consume.
Asked in: English - Reading Comprehension
1 Verified Answer | Published on 07th 09, 2020