The town of Clifton Park will soon offer a cost-effective alternative to throwing broken household items or torn clothing into the trash: a repair cafe.

The Clifton Park Government Re-Thinking Energy & Environment Now, (G.R.E.E.N.) Committee recently announced that it seeks to establish its own repair cafe, with a group of volunteers who have the time, skills and willingness to complete simple repairs on a variety of items including electronics and clothing. 

Clifton Park Town Councilwoman Amy Standaert, who chairs the G.R.E.E.N. Committee, said the idea is totally new to her and that one of the committee’s members brought the idea to the group.

“It’s the perfect initiative for us to take on,” Standaert said. The idea was initially introduced to the committee during the winter, she said.

Since 2007, the G.R.E.E.N. committee has assisted and advised the Town Board on energy and environmental impacts and issues.

Its members meet quarterly to promote energy awareness and consumer education; advocating actions that residents can take to reduce their consumption of limited natural resources, both now and in the future.

Repair cafes are still relatively new to the area, Standaert said — the operation in Clifton Park would only be the third of its kind in the Capital Region. Two already exist in Schenectady County.

Programs such as the repair cafe are important to provide for town residents who are, largely, at the mercy of the market for household items, toys and clothes.

Items that can be tackled at the repair cafe, theoretically, Standaert said, include toys, furniture, watches, clocks, and a number of other things.

“Anything can come through those doors, so you have to have a variety of skills,”she said.

“Planned obsolescence is one of my biggest pet peeves. If there’s an option to not have to buy brand new again and just wait for it to break in another three years, that makes sense to me. What do you do with broken bikes? You can’t donate them. They end up in the waste train and that’s ridiculous,”Standaert said.

The committee has successfully accomplished various incentives centered on making the town more both energy efficient and environmentally friendly, such as paving the way for the installation of energy efficient lighting and roof top solar panels at town buildings.

Right now, Standaert said, the committee is looking for qualified volunteers. While no meeting times nor locations have been established yet, Standaert said that the Clifton Park Halfmoon Public Library is one place the committee is pursuing, due to its central location.

There are also other town facilities that the committee can make use of for the program.

Most important now, Standaert said, is finding people who want to help.

“We can’t do much without people who have the skills. We need volunteers with all sorts of skills,” Standaert said.

Interested parties can email [email protected] to become involved.


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