A Montreal cafe is pairing owners of broken household items with handy experts in an effort to fight back against throwaway consumer culture.

The Repair Cafe is one of more than 1,400 groups in Canada and around the world encouraging people to troubleshoot their toasters, headphones, printers, and waffle irons, rather than toss them in the trash.

“In Canada, we generate almost 20 kilograms of electronic waste per year and per person. And we only recycle five kilograms per year and per person,” the Repair Cafe’s Tanguy Marquer told CTV News.

The volunteers are mainly engineering students and retirees. They’re willing to work for free to help divert as many old clock-radios and blenders from landfills as possible.

Statistics Canada figures released in 2016 found Canadian households produced 14.3 million tonnes of waste in 2012, up 27 per cent from 2002.

The Electronics Products Recycling Association, a non-profit group working to combat electronic waste, estimates it keeps 100 tonnes of old electronics out of landfills each year -- the weight of about 20,000 elephants.

Marquer said visitors can bring in just about anything, from laptops to clothing to bikes. The volunteers can’t guarantee everything will get fixed. All they ask is that you watch them work so you can learn how to make repairs yourself.

“The next time (something breaks) they may think they will be able to repair it on their own,” Marquer said. “They can do something other than just throwing it away.”

He hopes the Repair Cafe experience will also inform the buying habits of his patrons.

“It sends a very strong message to the companies who build and manufacture, that we want things that are easy to repair,” Marquer said.

With a report from CTV’s Vanessa Lee in Montreal