We in the western world (well all of the world, really) have our priorities all wrong. We’ve been conditioned by the society we inhabit to embrace wastefulness and excess. And not only is it causing all of us to spend a fortune on unnecessary products that we’re not entirely sure we even want, but it’s also causing us to behave in all the wrong ways when the things we own cease to be useful to us.
Image by Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources via Flickr
As a thrifty householder, you likely take a lot of steps to ensure against wasteful spending, yet sometimes even the most carefully budgeted household can have its blind spots when it comes to unnecessary expense. Here we’ll look at some ways in which our disposable culture is costing us a fortune and slowly destroying the planet… And what you can do about it…
Never replace when you can repair
We live in an age of technological wonders. Yet, technology moves at such a pace that it’s astonishing how quickly we start to take yesterday’s miracles for granted. Our consumer electronics, digital devices, and household appliances are all invaluable to us when they’re working, but when they stop working, all too often we throw them away. This is seriously damaging to the environment and can leak harmful compounds like cadmium, lead, and chromium into our oceans.
When your appliances go wrong, call out an appliance repair specialist. When your consumer electronics fail, try looking at repair guides on YouTube. Or failing that, find somewhere you can recycle old appliances and electronics responsibly. Never just throw them away.
Never recycle when you can repurpose
We tend to look at recycling as the solution to all of our environmental problems. But the truth is that recycling is not a terribly efficient process and over 90% of what we submit for recycling is sent into landfill.
As a thrifty and inventive householder, instead of recycling your old belongings, think of ways in which you can upcycle or otherwise repurpose them. It’s a great way to prevent your belongings from becoming waste, and with a little ingenuity, you can massively extend the life of the products you buy.
Think before you throw away old or damaged clothes
Textile waste is a huge problem, especially in the US where we throw away 15 million tons of used textiles every year. We tend to assume that when our clothes get old or damaged that there’s no use in throwing them away and the only place where we can put them is in a landfill. But nothing could be further from the truth.
There are many ways in which damaged or old clothes can be repaired or upcycled to extend their useful life at no cost to the planet.
Know what you’ll do with your kids’ toys when they outgrow them
Finally, even thrifty householders don’t want their kids to miss out when their birthdays or Christmases roll around. But before you buy your kids toys, games and electronics, spare a thought for what you’ll do with them when they’ve been outgrown. Give them to relatives, friends or neighbors or keep them in the attic where they may appreciate in value. Just don’t make the mistake of throwing them away as this will add to the already huge plastic problem in our oceans.