Repair Something – Day 16 of the Zero Waste Challenge
31 Day Zero Waste Challenge
January 16, 2019 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on July 9, 2020
In our society, it’s common to just throw items away when they no longer work or when they break.
Our items are made so flimsy that it’s often cheaper to buy a replacement than it is the repair what you already have.
It’s one of the reasons investing in quality is so important. If you have a quality item that you love, it will be easier to repair and you’ll actually want it repaired!
I remember several times growing up when I was excited that something broke so I could “upgrade.” Now, I don’t feel the same way at all. I recently went on a trip and my FAVORITE backpack which I’ve had for 15 years is starting to fall apart – and I am distraught!
I don’t want a new backpack… I want my old PERFECT backpack to live forever! You can bet I’ve been breaking out a needle and thread reinforcing it all over because I expect that backpack to last another 15 year.
When you love an item – you want to save it!! So, today, I challenge you to repair something, or get it repaired by a professional, instead of tossing it.
It’s day sixteen of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.
Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.
Today we’re talking about repairing something.
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Two items most typically thrown away after they tear or break are clothes and electronics. Sadly, these two items also contribute to a lot of waste.
When electronics are thrown away (think computers, phones and gadgets) it’s referred to as electronic waste or e-waste.
Only 20 percent of e-waste is recycled, which is bad for the environment because electronics can leak toxic materials like led and mercury over time.
Discarded clothing is also bad for the environment. According to one study, it’s estimated a truckload of textiles is wasted every second.
Most of the discarded clothing is made from plastic like polyester and acrylic making this another form of plastic pollution.
I think it’s high time we start treating our belongings with more care and thought.
Of course, one of the best ways to treat our belongings with more care and thought is to also make sure we’re only consuming things that we truly care about! But, that’s more of a day one challenge.
Currently, I have a jacket that has a tear in the seam and I desperately need to repair it.
So, this challenge is for me too. I am challenging you to get one of those things out of your own “needs repair” pile and fix it up.
When you hear the word repair, you might think about a plumber or a repair man. The truth is, anyone can learn the art of fixing things (though it takes a lifetime to master it).
While you may never develop the same level of skill a professional has, it’s good to know a few tools of the trade.
Some examples of handy skills to know include fixing a button, changing a tire or mending a tear.
Here are some basic repair skills you should try:
Sew a button.
Darn a sock.
Sew a tear shut.
Fix a leak.
Being handy has its benefits: It can save you a lot of money and also keep something out of the landfill.
All too often we dispose of products whenever they break, rip or falter without even trying to fix them. Often, the fixes are pretty easy.
A huge challenge of living the zero waste lifestyle is learning these repair skills.
So much unnecessary waste can be prevented just by learning to stitch a simple seem or figure out how to sew on a button.
Honestly, you don’t really have to learn those skills if you don’t want to: There are tailors or cobblers who can fix your shoes. Or repairmen that can fix your blender, or anything that needs fixing.
If fixing items isn’t really your thing, or you’re really not into DIYs, then I challenge you to at least take your item to someone who can fix it.
There are repair cafes popping up all over the world which look like a ton of fun to be part of.
Where to take broken or worn out items to be fixed:
Shoes – Take them to your local cobbler (they will replace soles, laces, etc.).
Clothes – Tailors will fix and hem your clothes (so if you have a tear, missing button, etc.).
Plumbing – Find local plumbers in your area that can fix leaky faucets or burst pipes.
Electronics – Electronic repair stores will fix most electronics (hardware or software issues).
Make sure to always support your local repairmen whenever you can. You can find people in your area through doing a quick Google search.
If, for whatever reason, something cannot be repaired, make sure it is disposed of properly.
Get my complete guide for how to recycle e-waste! Clothing can be donated (if in good enough condition) or made into rags for zero waste cleaning.
That said, only dispose of an item properly as a last resort. Really make an effort to get it fixed!
So, your challenge for today is to learn how to repair something, or take it to someone else who can repair it for you.
take the challenge!
Over the next 15 days, your challenge is to repair something.
Instead of throwing something away when it rips or breaks, challenge yourself to fix it.
If you’re unsure how to repair it, bring it to someone who can. Our society is too quick to throw broken things away without a second thought: Let’s fix that!
Will you be taking the challenge?
Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!?
Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.
PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook which is all about individual ways to fight climate change.
You don’t want to miss it.
miss a day?
- Day 1: Buy Less
- Day 2: Say No to Straws
- Day 3: Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle
- Day 4: Zero Waste Coffee
- Day 5: How to Actually Remember to Bring Your Bags to the Grocery Store
- Day 6: Use Real Stuff
- Day 7: Zero Waste Snacks
- Day 8: Declutter Your Life the Zero Waste Way
- Day 9: The Ultimate Guide to Zero Waste Cleaning
- Day 10: How to Compost
- Day 11: Conserve Natural Resources
- Day 12: Pick Up Litter
- Day 13: Zero Waste Grocery Shopping
- Day 14: Fight Food Waste
- Day 15: Meal Prep
- Day 16: Repair Something
- Day 17: Pack a Zero Waste Lunch
- Day 18: Use Cloth Napkins
- Day 19: Bring Home Leftovers
- Day 20: Zero Waste Dishwashing
- Day 21: Recycle the RIGHT Way!
- Day 22: Zero Waste Toilet Paper
- Day 23: Reduce Waste in Your Beauty Routine
- Day 24: Vote with Your Dollars
- Day 25: Be Prepared
- Day 26: Stop Junk Mail
- Day 27: Shop Secondhand
- Day 28: Shop Local
- Day 29: Start a Local Zero Waste Group
- Day 30: Get Involved in Local Government
- Day 31: Do a Trash Audit
Years ago, my husband gifted me a sewing machine for mother’s day, and, let me tell you, it has more than paid for itself! I keep a list on the refrigerator of things that need to be sewn/mended and I go to the list any time I pull out the machine. When it comes to other small things, I have a clear plastic tote with a snap lid that my kids put a toy, necklace, headband, etc into and I always look in the box when I have my glue gun or other tools out. I love the idea of problem solving and repairing things! Thank you for the post!