SINGAPORE – A third meet-up site to teach people how to repair their damaged household items, an initiative to discourage the buy-and-throw-away culture in Singapore, was launched in Ang Mo Kio on Sunday (Sept 29).

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 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 new lease of life to more than 3,000 items.

The ministry has designated 2019 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 eight 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.

Reducing waste can also help extend the lifespan of Semakau Landfill beyond 2035 – when the country’s only landfill is expected to run out of space – as well as create new jobs and economic opportunities in Singapore.

Repair Kopitiam, which was 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 on Sunday, 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 had gone through a structured 10-week programme to learn the basics of repairing simple household appliances, toys and fabrics.