Monday, July 26, 2010

Miscelaneous Monday - Disposable items

I've been thinking quite a bit about Mr. Chewy's post that I referenced here last Wednesday. When did big ticket items become disposable? Whether it's an Ipod, t.v., washing machine, dvd player, I have heard often "it can't be fixed" or "it's too expensive to fix" -- "so we'll just replace it". When did we stop fixing things, and when did we stop building things to last? But, perhaps, more importantly, are we throwing away things that can be fixed? Last week I spent 10 minutes mending tears in our reusable grocery bags. Not difficult, I had the needle and thread from other projects, and it didn't even have to look pretty. Not too long ago, I probably would have thrown them out - they aren't expensive and easy enough to purchase about anywhere.

I can easily think of places where I choose NOT to use disposable items, (cloth diapers, napkins, grocery bags) and where I reuse items (food jars, plastic and paper bags)What items am I treating as though they were disposable, even if they are not?

One that comes to mind is Computer Printers - It really bothers me that home printers have become a disposable item. After a couple of years, it always seems our type of ink cartridge has become obsolete, or jumps so much in price that a new printer is an obvious way to go. I suppose you can donate these printers - however, someone frugal enough to buy used, or your charity of choice don't want/need to be buying super expensive ink cartridges either.

Another place I know I can do better is clothing. Simple repairs (buttons, minor tears) I'm ok with. I've also taken pants to the cleaners to get new zippers. What I need to do better at is when the clothing reaches the end of it's current life. Can it be worn for cleaning, camping, painting, crafts? Can it become rags, baby wipes, something else?

As far as purchases go - I am going to be more conscious moving forward. If I am buying a larger appliance, I will ask about life span, repair, and what happens when it is disposed. When it comes to smaller appliances/gadgets, we already tend to purchase a lot of used items. If I can trade, or have them haul off my old appliance, what happens to it?

What are some steps we can take this week to move towards eliminating this mentality?

1 comment:

  1. I reuse old jeans and pants, sheets and blankets, cotton and linen shirts etc - I take them and cut them into strips and use them to crochet handbags and grocery bags. The more worn out the jeans the better for me - they are easier to crochet with. I haven't done much with t-shirts, but I know people who will gladly take them and turn them into quilts (I am learning how to use a sewing machine so I can do that too)

    My mom used to take our old clothes and use them as rags for cleaning. Dad's old shirts became painting smocks for us kids and recently she's taken his old work pants when she can't repair them and turned them into three quilts for us three kids (she collected them for years in the bottom of her linen closet).

    As for appliances and big ticket items we no longer need, we usually give them away on the free page of Craigslist or Re-Use-It. There are other people who will gladly take them off your hands.