I would like to propose a 4th “R” in our trio of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.
Too often when things break, we toss ’em. The reason is that we just don’t want to fix it, we don’t know how to fix it, or we don’t care to fix it. Fixing it takes work! The other reason is that we like shopping. Our thought process goes something like this:
“Broken, no problem, I can get a new one. I actually wanted a new one anyway, because I can get the one with this added feature and that added feature that my old one did not have. In fact, now that I think about it, I am kind of glad that it broke, since now I have an excuse to go shopping.”
Well I am about 2 weeks into a 3-month shopping ban, so that kind of logic is not going fly. So I have to either get it fixed, or live without.
As it turns out, I have fixed 4 things this weekend alone, all toys. Mama’s toy repair shop is going strong. Here is a sampling of my work:
Here we have a ballerina whose left leg was smashed to smithereens, a dollar-store crocodile whose leg snapped off as I was trying to cram it into a toy drawer, a Gormiti named Fiery Angel whose fiery wing had broken off, and finally, Tinkerbelle’s dainty slipper that had lost its pom-pom. It is quite the assortment, yes. Like I have said before, we have way too many toys in our house. For this motley crew, I just added a little glue here and a little glue there, and they were good to go.
I know, I know, these are relatively easy fixes (except for little miss ballerina, this was a multi-stage process over several days, as there were so many pieces to put back together). But what happens when the dishwasher breaks, or my cell phone? Well if we don’t know how to repair it ourselves, then we will get someone who does. My husband’s cell phone is in the repair shop as we speak! Mending clothes instead of buying new ones, replacing component parts of a vacuum cleaner instead of getting a new one, getting a garden hose kit to fix the leak… these are things that our grandparents did all the time, our parents even. Yet we don’t. It is easier to replace.
Some of it is not our fault, as many products have built in obsolescence. The suppliers are depending on the probability that if it breaks, we will buy it again. Sometimes the cost of replacing it is even less than fixing it. So they are also to blame in this equation. It seems like our whole culture is programmed to value disposal over retention, as Tyler from Intercon so eloquently points out.
So how does this sound? Reduce-Repair-Reuse-Recycle.
Can you think of any other Rs?
Better yet – Refuse?