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Nicole Boliaux, Deseret News

Museum clinic repairs gadgets, reduces landfill waste

By Ryan Morgan  |  Posted May 27th, 2017 @ 5:49pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Broken vacuums from the 1960s found their place alongside brand new phone chargers and defective water pumps as tinkerers and hobbyists attempted to fix anything and everything they could.

Members of The Leonardo museum and the Utah Recycling Alliance worked together to host a "Fix-It Clinic" Saturday for people to bring in busted-up and outdated appliances and learn how to repair them. The event was part of an ongoing effort by the Utah Recycling Alliance to reduce the amount of waste that typically ends up in landfills.

Bonnie Walsh, 77, of Millcreek, brought in her parents' early 1960s era, Hoover vacuum for repair. She said the vacuum had been working well until it recently developed a rattling cough.

Walsh said she considered finding a repair manual for the old vacuum, but decided to simply bring it to the clinic and tinker with it.

"I looked online, but I hesitated buying what there was, because I am old-school," Walsh said.

Bruce Kizerian, 70, a retired engineer and museum employee, worked alongside Walsh, passing screwdrivers and helping Walsh fix brackets to the vacuum's motor.

"She's emotionally attached to it," he joked of her unwillingness to replace the vacuum.

Kizerian said he enjoyed the clinic because the repair tasks continued to challenge his mind and make him think about a variety of different problems.

Cade Halliday, from Actionlink Wireless works on an iPhone 5 during a free “Fix-It Clinic” where participants learn how to repair broken items that would otherwise end up in a landfill at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City on Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Photo: Nicole Boliaux, Deseret News)

"We have had people come in with stools to get fixed and bicycles to get fixed and clothing that needs to be mended," said Morgan Bowerman, vice board chairwoman for the Utah Recycling Alliance. "The 'Fix-It Clinic' is a really good one where people have something that is broken, they still see value in it, but they don't know what to do with it."

Bowerman said the clinic aimed to fill a gap in the recycling efforts and help Utahns move toward zero waste.

Bowerman said the clinic, the second of its kind since the museum partnership began in 2017, will continue on a quarterly basis with events planned for September and November. She added that the clinic may even become a monthly event.

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