TODAY   |  August 24, 2013

Grassroots fixers rescue items from being junked

Around the country, groups are gathering at places like Chicago’s Kitchen Sink Cafe, where once a month volunteers fix broken things that would otherwise have been junked, from toasters to bikes to children's toys. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> if you have ever broken something in your house and thought you had to throw it out or pay someone else big bucks to fix it, think again. there's a third option that involves your own two hands and help from a few people. kevin tibbles has more on an idea that sparked a movement.

>> reporter: when it comes to fixing things, it seems we are not that handy anymore. that's why a new grass roots movement is catching on at places like the kitchen sink cafe.

>> if this can be fixed --

>> reporter: a once a month pilgrimage. broken toasters and bikes to chairs and children's toys are all given a new lease on life by volunteer mr. and mrs. fix its. many things are very easy to fix. open it up and see how it works and what isn't working.

>> reporter: they call themselves community glue, inspired by similar gatherings around the country.

>> my parents used everything, had it repaired and reused it. we didn't throw away anything.

>> marie and their 8-year-old son come bearing his broken robot.

>> i get disturbed when i think about plastic things going into the landfills.

>> reporter: our desire, we don't fix things, we junk them. every second in america, four mobile devices are tossed. that's more than 150 million every year. wow.

>> this man is making good money off consumers bad habits. people toss it.

>> almost new, they don't care.

>> reporter: ava electronics recycling collects waste a month repairing and reselling it or stripping it and melting it down.

>> physical gold inside of here.

>> reporter: one man's trash is another man's or boy's treasure. a new part for his robot is fashioned on a 3-d printer and a patch is sewed to fix where one eye is missing.

>> everybody comes here and they are like it's a small miracle has been performs.

>> reporter: once in awhile, everything old can be new again. for "today," kevin tibbles, nbc news.