New meet-up site to fix damaged goods

A third meet-up site to teach people how to repair their damaged objects, part of an initiative to discourage the buy-and-throw-away culture in Singapore, was launched in Ang Mo Kio yesterday.

Volunteer coaches at monthly public repair sessions will guide residents in fixing simple items such as faulty electrical appliances, toys and torn clothing.

The site, at Block 309B Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, is being used in a tie-up between Repair Kopitiam, a community-driven repair meet-up project, and Geneco, the electricity retail arm of power generation company YTL PowerSeraya.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, noted that to date, Repair Kopitiam has conducted more than 130 workshops, trained more than 600 repair coaches, and given a second lease of life to more than 3,000 items. The Ministry of Environment and Water Resources has designated this year as Singapore's Year Towards Zero Waste.

"The idea of this Zero Waste mission really is to get people to use the resources - whatever you have - for as long as possible," she said.

Last year, Singapore generated almost 8 million tonnes of waste, an amount equivalent to the weight of 530,000 double-decker buses.

Dr Khor said that by reducing, reusing and recycling, fewer resources are used, hence reducing carbon emissions, and helping to mitigate climate change.


Repair Kopitiam, founded in November 2014, has two other sites in Jurong and Tampines. Four-hour repair sessions are held on the last Sunday of every month at these sites.

Mr Veerappan Swaminathan, its founder, said: "We realised that we were not maximising the lifetime of our appliances, but instead just buying new products whenever something broke, however fixable the problem was."

At the launch yesterday, 17 repair coaches from Ang Mo Kio were presented with their graduation aprons by Dr Khor, who was the guest of honour.

The volunteer coaches went through a structured 10-week programme to learn the basics of repairing simple household appliances, toys and fabrics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2019, with the headline 'New meet-up site to fix damaged goods'. Print Edition | Subscribe