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Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Fix It, Don’t Nix It: Repairing Can Prolong Life of Products

DIY Fixing Broken Appliance

fotos 593/AdobeStock.com

With every Amazon delivery and late-night QVC purchase, the verdict is in: America is the Godzilla of consumerism, and far too many of the products we buy are disposable or designed to become obsolete. 

Tons of waste ends up in landfills or is incinerated, causing pollution. Plus, non-renewable natural resources like petroleum and heavy metals are depleted to manufacture new products and the non-biodegradable packaging they’re wrapped in. 

Awakening to the consequences of consumption addiction, a more sustainable choice emerges: repairing. When something breaks, don’t replace it­—fix it. By prolonging the lifespan of items, demand for new products is reduced, resources are conserved and money is saved. It all helps the planet. 

A Repair Cafe Near Home

In concert with the do-it-yourself craze, there’s a growing interest in repair cafes and pop-up events where people can learn to fix things or have someone do it for them. It’s fun, and the camaraderie and guidance of knowledgeable neighbors makes all the difference. Visit RepairCafe.org to find a nearby location or for detailed instructions on how to start one. 

How to Fix Anything

Whether it’s a faulty toaster, broken wheelbarrow or torn jeans, some common principles apply:
 
Don’t panic. When the bicycle chain breaks, remain calm. Split the task into manageable steps. Anticipate the feeling of empowerment when the wheels are turning again.

Get informed. From hemming a skirt to rewiring a lamp, a detailed YouTube video awaits. Check online for product manuals that offer diagnostics and repair instructions. For an extensive collection of repair guides, visit IFixIt.com.

Use the right tool. To get the job done quicker, easier and without possible injury or damage to property, the right tool is key. Local hardware store attendants can help. For one-time-use or expensive tools, consider renting or borrowing.

Visit a repair shop. A great way to support local business is to patronize local repair shops for shoes, clothing, jewelry, computers, appliances and more.

Buying for Longevity

Choose quality products that are designed to last and easy to repair. To help evaluate options, iFixIt.com offers a list of repairability scores. In a perfect, sustainable world, the marketplace would be filled with beautiful, artful and clever products that everyone loves and can’t bear to replace.
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