The 3Rs mantra of environmentalism is to reduce, reuse, recycle. There’s been lots of focus on cutting back on reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions and public relations efforts have got behind recycling. But what about reusing?
An interesting piece in the Guardian shows how difficult it is to repair modern electrical appliances. Surely the time has come to question the ease with which we dispose of broken gadgets that we once coveted? And also to ask, why nothing lasts as long as it could – should planned obsolescence not be considered an anti-social strategy?
My grandfather was an upholsterer and he reused materials – including straightening out nails – routinely in his work. My grandmother made curtains professionally – and I had many lovely dresses (and more questionable dungarees) made from chintz off cuts as a small child. Does anyone take the time to “make do and mend” anymore?
There are a lot of issues around recycling electrical components, not least the ethical impact on the low income workers being involved in Active Disassembly (such as reclaiming precious metals from old mobile phones). Isn’t it time to reconsider whether repair isn’t a better option?