Australia · basics · challenges · knowledge

Recycle, Reuse and Repair

As a general rule, I’m not much of a one for standing on my proverbial soapbox and trying to convert the world, one way or another, on any given issue, nor do I write today with the intent of converting anyone’s beliefs.

However…once in a while, although only occasionally, an incident will leave me uttering certain statements and questions, such as “What the …”, “Why?” and “I really don’t see the point!”

Such an occasion has just reared its ugly head. Let me set the scene for you….The Man of the House (MOTH), decided the time was right to begin some outdoor house painting. At the back of our house, we have two fairly wide and rather long verandas, which look out over our incredible views of the Tweed Valley. The ceilings of these verandas are his latest target with the paint brush.

We have a total of four ceiling lights along the verandas, each light covered with an enclosed glass light shade (enclosed to keep the bugs out of the inside of the shade). The shade sits into a metal surround, with a rubber seal between the metal and the shade, to hold the shade securely in place.

We removed the light shades for ease of painting around the lights, only to discover that the rubber seals have perished, no doubt due to being subject to the elements for the last four years since we put them up.

Today, the MOTH has taken one of the old perished seals to various local stores to find replacements, as without the seals, the shades won’t hold in place on the metal surrounds, only to be told he will have high hopes in finding them.

Okay, so what are they suggesting? That we go out and buy four new replacement light shades, just because the seals are perished??? And what exactly do we do with the old shades? Oh, of course, throw them away!

A similar incident happened recently, although with a happier ending. The electrical lead on our son’s laptop wasn’t working; we had to buy him a new one. An initial price check revealed that once we had parted company with $80.00 we would become the proud owners of said lead. $80.00?!! The MOTH dismantled the point of the lead (yes, he has electrical expertise!), found the broken “bit” and bought a new one. Twenty five cents worth of parts and ten minutes labour on the MOTH’s part, and it was all fixed!

What is it with our consumer driven society these days? What happened to the good old days of “repairing items, when broken”? That’s if they ever did break down. I owned the same refrigerator for over twenty years. It didn’t miss a beat; however the doors were beginning to show spots of rust, all over, apparently caused by our use of magnets on the metal, when holding up our children’s works of art for all to enjoy.

For years, I waited patiently for that fridge to die, only to be eventually told, by a man in the know, that old fridges never die! Finally, I bit the bullet and bought a beautiful new refrigerator, only to be told I should get five years wear from it, perhaps seven, and ten if I was extremely lucky!

How society has changed over the years. It is sad to say, but I do believe that we are living in a disposable world. No sooner have you left the car yard with a shiny new vehicle than it has lost value and become superseded! The same applies for computers, mobile phones, television sets and CD players.

Advertisers prey on the vulnerability of consumers at large, especially the young, displaying the latest and greatest “got to have it” items. Just bring your credit card along!

Hmmm….the credit card….Australia has a population of over 22 million people. Our national credit card debt is at $40.4 billion dollars. Let me take that one step further ~ Australia’s national debt, including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans is currently at $1.2 trillion, which is up by 71% over the last five years. And, it gets even better…that equates to $56,000 debt for each and every man, woman and child in the country!

Quick, pass me the scissors; I’m cutting up my credit cards!

Just when you’re thinking it can’t get any worse, I have found even more statistics…each Australian produces, on average, a total of one tonne of rubbish each and every year!

Whatever happened to the idea of recycling, reusing or repairing? We are going further and further into debt, all in the name of owning the latest and the greatest, or being forced into buying new, when the old could be repaired. The old is tossed out onto the rubbish dump and we are burying ourselves in the waste!

Help!!! Am I missing something here?

Being a firm believer that every little bit helps, for years now I have encouraged my family to recycle, reuse or repair old items. We have a compost heap down the back yard, we use the recycled items garbage bins for glass, paper, etc. I take old clothing to the charity shops and believe that repairs and a good coat of paint gives renewed life to all walls and furniture.

The World Wide Web is a big place, so how about we all start sharing our own ideas on recycle, reuse and repair? I’m open to ideas on the three R’s; how about you?

Oh, and about those broken seals on our four light shades? The MOTH is working on improvising ~ he’ll come up with an idea! 🙂

~ All statistics information contained on this post was obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. ~