By now, hopefully it’s pretty obvious that a major component of sustainability includes careful consideration of our purchases and making sure we get the maximum life out of the “things” we use. We’ve talked about sustainable gift-giving, buying smarter, reducing our use of single-use plastics, choosing reusables, buying secondhand items, and donating items so others can purchase them secondhand. This week we’re going to talk about Reusing and Repairing Items We Already Have Instead of Buying Something New. Throwing out an item before it has reached the end of its useful life has many negative consequences on the environment, our pocketbook, and economy.
Financial Savings: Why go out and spend a lot of money on a new item when a little time and money can keep your item working just fine? It costs a lot of buy new items and not as much to repair them. However, if repairing gets to be more expensive than buying new, then you might want to consider the item at the end of its useful life.
Waste Reduction: Throwing things out has an enormous impact on the environment. Every thing we throw out has to go somewhere – usually a landfill. This waste is taking up a lot of space on earth that could be used for other things. Then we have to think about the items that could harm the soil or water (for example, electronics often have toxic chemicals that can leach into the groundwater). Repairing and reusing items to the end of their useful life lessens the amount of waste we are throwing out.
Community Benefit: Is there an item that you could repair and then donate to someone else? Maybe you have an old phone that needs a quick repair but you already have a new phone. Why not get the old phone fixed and then donate it to someone who cannot afford to buy a phone of their own. This will keep a useful item out of the landfill and help someone in need.
Job Creation: If we keep an item until the end of its useful life and spend a little time and money getting it fixed, then we need to have people who know how to fix it. And this is something that is best done close to home which creates jobs for our local economy.
This week we’re going to talk about different resources we can use for repairing items. Maybe it’s something we can do ourselves with a little direction. Maybe it is a repair that requires a little technical know-how that is beyond our ability. Maybe it’s a big repair that needs professional services. Whatever the repair, there is a way to do it and we will talk about resources for this throughout the week.
However, if you have something that needs a simple repair and you think you can do it yourself but need a little guidance, try one of these websites for guides and tutorials.
Join Do Nation and Pledge to Fix It
For more information and guidance, Do Nation has a great page on the advantages of repairing items, resources for repairing, and they talk about how repairing items fits into the global Sustainable Development Goals. You can even pledge to fix a certain number of items over the next 2 months and they will estimate how much carbon dioxide emissions you will save from the atmosphere.
I hope this is brief introduction on repairing items instead of buying new has gotten you thinking about what items you can fix instead of throw out. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with the discussion as we talk about different ways we can repair items this week!