Sustainable Waste | The 4th R Repair

Making things last longer

One of the most important ways to reduce our waste production, together with our goods consumption is the 4th Rs: REPAIR. This is a skill many older people have, due to the scarcity of goods during the war and post-war years, but that the majority of people today misses.

Very often today products are manufactured with a short term planned obsolescence, or they are designed in a way that they are difficult to disassemble, and many times the price of replacement parts is intentionally high, so to discourage repair. [Should I start talking about disposable fashion!?] Lately however, maybe due to the financial situation, thrift and repair seem to have become fashionable again.

How can you consume differently? How can you buy stuff that are made to last? And how can you make them last longer?

1. Shop differently. That is, look for things that are built to last and be repaired

  • Consult online reviews of products to check for potential problems and their solutions
  • When shopping for things that have a warrantly, make sure that the warranty lasts for a good length of time [not just one year]. Keep warranty together with the receipt of payment.
  • Sometimes spending a little bit more ensure a longer durability and quality, that will therefore save you money in the long term.

2. Treat your purchases better. Follow direction for protecting and maintaining things and use them properly. for example, make your boots waterprrof [instead of buying a new pair every winter..], change the oil in the car, check the air conditioner filters, etc.

3. Try to fix things yourself. Many repairs may be simple to do

  • There are many free online repair guides. The same can be said about video tutorial on YouTube.
  • One of the easiest things to repair are clothes. A hole in a sock or a missing button? Not a big problem, is it?
  • Ceramics can be easily repaired [if you have all the pieces…!] with easily purchasable ceramic glue, the same goes for wooden objects.
  • Electrical goods instead need to be repaired and checked by an expert. Do not attempt to repair these, but keep them in good order.

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