I say baloney.
Part of the issue is the fact that most people, especially kids these days don’t take care of their things. We bombard them with endless amounts of stuff so they place no value on it. Why should Jr. give a hoot about that XBOX he has when you are buying him an XBOX 360 in six months (You just don’t know it yet). Why should he care if he trashes his iPod when Steve Jobs over at Apple upgrades them faster than you can whistle Dixie. When I was growing up I treated everything I had with respect, I kept my toys/stuff clean and put them away when I was done playing with them. My parents weren’t Donald Trump, whatever I got I treasured. This has carried over into my adult years and I try my best to take care of everything I own. Parents need to instill this at a young age otherwise their kids are “doomed to consume.” (Wow I just made that up...nice)
What I suggest is when you think you have an item that needs to be replaced, take a moment to consider the possibility you could be throwing money away. Consider this example, my in-laws have a vacuum cleaner they purchased in the 80’s but it was a quality model when they bought it. The vacuum has worked great for all these years, one day it stopped working. Rather than run to the store and spend $200-$300 on a new vacuum, my father-in-law took it to a vacuum repair shop (they exist – look in the phone book). They replaced a switch and for $18 bucks the vacuum was as good as new, the guy even cleaned it up real good for them. This is why I say baloney to the person that throws things out and immediately buys a new one without any consideration or thought.
When something is truly beyond repair, I would scavenge what I could from it and possibly repurpose it. One example of repurposing something is a shower curtain. No matter how much cleaning you do eventually the shower curtain will get skuzzy or rip. Instead of throwing it out, use it as a tarp, tent foot print or even use it to line the trunk of your vehicle when you run to the store and pick up something messy like bags of dirt or mulch. Another great example of repurposing something would be tires. Use them to plant flowers or vegetables in raised beds rather than sending them to a landfill.
If you remember one thing from this post let it be this; when you do need to get rid of something, dispose of it in the proper manner. You cannot just throw out computer equipment for example. Computers and computer peripherals contain lead and other hazardous materials and must be disposed of properly. Never throw out batteries, motor oil, used cooking oil, paper, plastic, magazines, cardboard, aluminum cans or anything else that is recyclable. Most town have recycling centers where you can dispose of these items. Many gas stations and auto parts stores will take your used motor oil. You should always try and do your part to help the environment if you can. I am certainly not one of those environ-nuts, who will stop progress of mankind because the two-fingered, bow legged, polka-dotted sap sucker’s habitat will be infringed upon, but I do care about the planet. If everyone did their small part to fix the problem the difference would be HUGE.
If you toss aluminum cans out you are crazy because many states will give you cash refund for returning them, and most recycling places pay for aluminum by the pound. I recently purchased the Easy Pull Can Crusher which I installed in my garage. I have to say it has made the job of crushing the cans considerably easier on my feet. My wife and I store the cans in our garage in contractor bags and once a year visit the recycler. The price we get depends on the price of aluminum per pound at the time but it requires very little effort on our part and is found money as far as I am concerned.
I store our used motor oil, cooking oil, paper and cardboard in the garage until I have a decent amount and then I drive it over to the recycling center and in 15 minutes I have disposed of all my stuff in an environment friendly manner. Most recycling centers also take lawn debris, construction debris and old appliances so check with your local authorities to find out what they accept and where.
One final point I would like to drive home in this repair, reuse, recycle and repurpose post is to buy quality, even if it costs more money up front. You will save money on the back end in repairs because things that are made well usually last longer. I don’t know how many times I have seen someone buy the cheap version for $100 bucks for example, and then go back and have to buy the $300 version anyway because the cheaper one was unusable or broke. Does that make sense? To buy something that costs $300 for $400 because you were trying to “save” money? No of course it doesn’t, so don’t do it. Buy quality the FIRST time and save yourself money and headaches.
...that is all.