A Disposable Society

Today in the western world, we live in a disposable society. One where it is easier and often cheaper to throw something away that repair it. It’s also a changing society where people often lack the necessary skills in which to make such repairs because it’s so easy to replace things.

My Dad is an amazing handyman, he has the ability to fix almost anything. As a result, my Dad has always been able to fix things for me instead of replacing them. He as glued shoes back together, re-finished items of furniture in our house and also mended my broken toys. Pretty much anything that was broken he was able to fix which stemmed the flow of my tears when I was younger and my favorite toy had some sort of accident. I have always been very grateful for his skills and over the years this has saved our family a lot of money. It has also reduced our environmental footprint as it means we tend to throw away and replace less frequently.

My mum and I are also both handy with a needle and thread or sewing machine. My mum and I both frequently run the fraying edges of towels through the over-locker which makes them last that little bit longer and saves a fortune on new towels. My significant other finds it strange that if a pair of my socks or t-shirt has a hole, I sew it up. Particularly when these items can be replaced so cheaply. But why replace when you can fix for nothing? Even though I could replace my otherwise good socks but for a tiny hole for $2, sewing them up doesn’t cost more than a cent or two worth of thread and I keep $2 in my pocket. The time it takes me to make this tiny repair is also less than the time it would take to drive to the shops and purchase a new pair. I also save on the associated fuel costs and wear and tear on my car.

I frequently offer to sew up holes in my boyfriend’s shirts that are tiny and easy to conceal but his usual response is ‘nah it was a cheap shirt, don’t bother’. This attitude is the attitude of so many and it’s a real reflection of our society. I however will continue chipping away, sewing up my socks and saving dollar by dollar.

Sometimes there is nothing like the satisfaction of fixing something. When you save a dollar and also save an item from ending up prematurely in landfill, I consider that to be a win, no matter how small it might be.

How do you push back against a disposable society?