Meet our fixing hero: Martine Postma - Founder, Repair Cafe

“If something is broken, the first reaction should be: this should be mended.” - Martine Postma

Start local think global

Martine Postma organised the first Repair Café in Amsterdam, 2009. In her own words, she started the Café because she was feeling increasingly frustrated with the developed world’s throwaway culture (a woman of our own heart). Shortly before the very first Repair Café launched, Martine produced a guide for the local community with tips on how to produce less waste in their daily lives. As she composed this guide, she realised that that many of the tips were to do with repair and getting a longer life out of the stuff you have. This inspired what has now become a global community of fixers. 

Growing an international repair community

As the Repair Café grew in popularity, people started to approach Martine to ask how they could start a Repair Café in their community. In 2010, she started the Repair Café Foundation, which provides local groups with the information and support they need to set up and start their own successful Repair Cafés. This approach empowers local communities to do-it-themselves, in the true spirit of the fixing movement. 

Today, there are over 1300 Repair Cafés, in 33 countries, spread over six continents, this truly is a global movement. 

In 2016, the combined efforts of Repair Cafés around the world managed to save an estimated 250,000 kilos of waste from landfills.

The number of Repair Cafés continues to grow as more and more people join. In recent times, some local groups have experimented with 3D printing as a way of providing affordable spare parts for broken items.

The push for global reform

As well as still being actively involved in the Repair Café Foundation, which helps and supports the ongoing growth of local groups, Martine has also been part of a group lobbying for law reform in the EU. She aims to make professional repairs a more attractive option than buying new, and she hopes that one day the Repair Café is no longer needed. 

"I would not mind that too. Because of course, it is not about the café but for repairable goods, less waste and a sustainable lifestyle. That's the goal."