January 18, 2021

If a toaster fails to make bread dark and crispy, most people will simply dump it by the curbside and venture to the nearest superstore for a new model.

Murray Zink, founder of 4Repair, is not most people.

“It’s all about sustainability,” said Murray Zink, founder of 4Repair. “If something simple breaks, don’t just put it in an opaque bag and send it to the landfill. Save your money. If it can be fixed and used for another two years, we would like to extend the object’s life,” explained Zink, outlining 4Repair’s primary goal.

Zink, along with University of Waterloo faculty, alumni and the Sustainable Campus Initiative student group created 4Repair early last year as a way for students to reduce environmental damage, and learn valuable do-it-yourself skills.

“Every time we host an event, it’s been well-received,” said UW Sustainability Manager Matt Tyson, of 4Repair’s third university workshop. “We can’t fix everything here, but if there’s little things that need to be adjusted, glued or soldered back together, that’s the sort of service we offer,” explained Tyson.

As the name may suggest, volunteers at 4Repair are able to help fix objects for attendees within four main categories: sewing/mending, knife sharpening, jewelry repair and small electrical item maintenance. Typical events will go for two hours, with a 20 minute time slot devoted to each ticket holder.

“We try to limit available repair slots, depending on the type of object,” said Andrea Bale, the Sustainability Engagement Coordinator at the University.

“We put a cap on the number of people that can sign up in each category, and they’re served on a first-come-first-serve basis. Electrical/general repairs are capped at six spots with one item per person for the duration of the session. Clothing and jewelry can only host six as well, but each attendee can bring in three items.”.

Future events are scheduled to occur in the coming year. 4Repair can be contacted at 4repairkw@gmail.com or followed on Instagram @4repairKW.

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