Lake Mac repair cafe diverts waste away from landfill

Published on 07 March 2022

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A pop-up cafe in Lake Mac is teaching locals how to live a more sustainable lifestyle, by repairing broken items otherwise destined for the bin.

Sustainable Neighbourhood Alliance Leader Samantha Doove said the Repair Cafe at Warners Bay Theatre allows residents to bring in damaged household items and have them fixed by skilled volunteers. 

“The aim is to divert waste away from landfill and allow community members to think about repairing old items as opposed to buying new ones,” Ms Doove said.

“Clothing items, textiles, small electrical appliances, toys, small furniture, garden tools and even your mobile phone can be brought in and we’ll have repairers on site to help fix them.”

“In the past we’ve fixed fringed leather jackets, an old Mickey Mouse toy and a chair built in the 1900s – the owner was an elderly woman and her husband had made it after the war.”

An event held in 2020 saw volunteers mend more than 100 items.

The cafe will be open on three separate occasions, starting March 13, and forms part of an event series, called ‘Too Good to Waste’.

Lake Macquarie Council Manager Community Partnerships Andrew Bryant said sustainable workshops will be held at Belmont Library in March, teaching attendees how to make drawstring veggie bags from old curtain fabric and t-shirt cording.

“Events like this help connect the community and provide a space for people to share and learn really important repair skills, which have been partially lost over generations,” Mr Bryant said.

“We’re calling on anyone with repair experience to lend a hand at cafe events and ensure we drive down landfill.”

Snacks, coffee and tea will also be on offer at the cafe, as well as a ‘deconstruction zone’ aimed at inspiring young ones to be curious and dismantle objects to rebuild.

More information on the project can be found at

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