Waste Reduction Week: swap & repair

When I had my first child, I was gifted an electronic moving toy. Not something I would have bought myself, but I accepted the gift. A few weeks later, it gets dropped on the floor by my child. It wasn’t a hard fall, nor a far one, yet the thing malfunctioned and glitched out, creating a weird noise that scared my child. The scary toy aside, I contacted the company (VTech) to ask for a repair option because of the glitch. They asked me all kinds of questions to see if it was my fault (which wasn’t even my point of contacting them), and once I reiterated my intent, they simply told me there were no repair options. OK. Now I have a glitchy robot cat in my closet with no hope of a future.

We have really come far away from a repair culture; probably because it is less convenient. CAN SOMEONE PLEASE BRING BACK PATCHES FOR JEANS?! I LOVED my patches on my jeans when I was a kid. I suppose it’s cool again to just have holes in them, so just hang on to that pair of jeans and it’ll be good to go. Maybe a bit breezy for winter, but hey!

I heard of “repair cafes” a year or two ago, and I thought that was just the most brilliant idea ever. I am not sure where the closest one is to me, but basically there are a group of volunteers that will fix your broken things for free! Is that not amazing?!

I have challenged myself to really make last what I have, and to repair what I can. If I can’t fix it myself, I will put it out to the public if there is someone who can. For example, my laptop was glitching out, and instead of scrapping it and buying a new one, I took it into a local computer store. One new cable was all it took to fix it. Clothing is probably my limit. I fix as much as I can, or ask others to help me; a friend of mine turned a tunic into a beautiful skirt, and I even found a local woman to sew new elastics into our cloth diapers. If it is beyond fixing, then I will cut it up and use it as something else. I have been able to fix several items of clothing, stuffed animals, socks, and even a doll (I was especially proud of that one).

Something I came across was Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. While I wouldn’t waste my time with my chipped IKEA bowls, this is a beautiful way to repair special pottery. Watching the art of Kintsugi is like you are truly honouring something, and helping it become strong again. It is beautiful.

One good thing about the internet is that it is easy to find basically any kind of how-to video. Before tossing something, give a quick search and see if you can find some kind of fix-it tutorial. My partner is so into these kinds of videos he has self-taught himself how to fix various electronics and conducts his own bike repairs.

You may also put your item up for free on a local source to see if someone else has interest in fixing it. Perhaps it could be a useful resource to someone else.

The main thing here… think about it before you toss it. There is always a better option!

Sources:

https://www.lifegate.com/kintsugi

https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/repair-cafe-vancouver

https://wrwcanada.com/en/2020-theme-days/sunday-swap-repair

https://www.charlottetown.ca/environment___sustainability/sustainability/programs_and_initiatives/waste_reduction_week/swap___repair

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