reduce, reuse, recycle… repair

Our tendency to replace rather than repair is a habit that grows our footprint. In many cases replacing an item is cheaper, faster, and easier than fixing it; but cheap, fast, and easy are not eco friendly. Instead of sending stuff to the dump and harvesting more resources to make something new, let’s get more out what we have.

Think about this from two angles:

  1. Buying quality goods that last longer will prevent you from having to replace stuff.
  2. When something breaks, look for a way to repair it rather than replacing it.

Grandma may have taught mom to sew when she was a child, but mom’s too busy running her own business now to fix my missing zipper and I never learned to sew. Repairing may be a lost art to our generation, but we do have a savior: The Internet.

If you want to save money and reduce your environmental impact, just search the webs and find a DIY video on YouTube next time you need something repaired. If that fails, try Google maps for a professional in your area.

Common things that we replace but should be repaired:

  • Textiles – You lose a button on your pants or tear your jeans… don’t start browsing online. A simple needle and thread kit will have you back in business in no time… (ever notice that weird button on the inside of your pants by the pocket? psst… it’s a replacement) or you can visit gma; she’d be delighted to see you.
  • Cell phones – I know a broken screen is a great excuse to get the latest iPhone, but are cordless headphones really going to make your life that much better? Unless you douse your phone in water, there’s a good chance you can have it repaired instead of replacing it. I’ve had the charger port on my iPhone 5 replaced twice in the last 3 years.
  • Outdoor gear – If you’re buying quality and you take care of your gear, your gear will take care of you. Unless you’re a competitive mountaineer, having the latest and greatest gear isn’t going to make much of difference on your outing. Packs, sleeping bags, and tents can be mended pretty easily and you can often find replacement parts for the things you can’t fix yourself. You can even get YouTube – Shoe Repair if you wear them out and YouTube – Shoe Repair by taking proper care of it.
  • Shoes – If your kicks are looking old, sometimes they just need a little TLC. Shoe repair shops actually do exist, believe it or not, and sometimes a little shoe glue is all you need. So, Daniel, wash those white vans with a little bleech, throw on some new laces, and you’ll be looking fresh again in no time.

Your Action Item

Look to repair instead of replace – consult the interwebs when in doubt!


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DIY Repair Resource

Step by step guides to help you fix just about anything.

YouTube – Shoe Repair

There are 1,790,000 YouTube videos related to “how to repair shoes”…

YouTube – Shoe Repair

Here are a series of videos that show you how to patch a sleeping bag, fix a sleeping pad, fix tent seems, replace zippers, and more.

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