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'Throwaway economy' thwarting climate goals: report

11 Comments
By Kelly MacNAMARA

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© 2022 AFP

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Actually, I'm totally OK with a "throwaway" economy.

It's not that mankind is going to be around forever anyways.

Enjoy it while you can.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Buy quality goods and take good care of them. If some part breaks or wears out, repair it instead of throwing it away. There is no reason why well made household goods cannot last two or three decades given reasonable care. Sure good quality costs more up front but if you are not replacing the item every couple of years you are soon money ahead. I'll clean home tonight with a 40 year old Kenmore vacuum that works just fine. I replaced the motor and cord maybe ten years ago for less than the cost of a cheap vacuum at Walmart. I drive a 34 year old car that I restored instead of buying a new one. I have beautiful Sunbeam Coffeemaster vacuum siphon coffee pots from the 1950s that make wonderful coffee. We use a Farberware electric grill from the 1960s that is as nice as the day my parents bought it. Some of our cookwear is older than I am, high end stainless steel Reverewear, not the crappy aluminum with Teflon coating stuff that wears out and gets tossed. Buy high quality and make your stuff last. In the long run it is much less costly.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

My truck is 27 years old, One of my Jeeps is 34 years old. Proper maintenance will save a lot of manufacturing resources.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is about time this part of the equation was mentioned. Do we really need 5,000,000 versions of a plastic trinkets?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Desert TortoiseToday 10:26 am JST

Buy quality goods and take good care of them. If some part breaks or wears out, repair it instead of throwing it away. There is no reason why well made household goods cannot last two or three decades given reasonable care.

Funnily enough, I've just repaired my Dyson v11 vacuum cleaner by replacing the red plastic trigger myself. The actual part can be bought cheaply on Amazon, but dismantling the body to get to the broken trigger and replacing it with a new one isn't as easy as you'd think. I did it eventually, after watching a YouTube video on the topic, but you get the feeling Dyson made a crappy trigger of cheap plastic and then made it hard to get to it, which would dissuade 995 of people from trying to do it themselves...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japanese resale shops (2nd Street et al) and used bookstores (BookOff, etc) are notorious for ripping off sellers/trade-ins with about 1-7% ROI and then, reselling the same goods at near-current, retail prices, even though they are older models, hardware, etc. Should be more local, public-accessibly avenues available for sellers & consumers to buy/sell/trade their still-functioning and desirable goods in an open market. System seems designed so local and national government can collect 2nd and 3rd tax revenue on the same goods.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese resale shops (2nd Street et al) and used bookstores (BookOff, etc) are notorious for ripping off sellers/trade-ins with about 1-7% ROI and then, reselling the same goods at near-current, retail prices, even though they are older models, hardware, etc. Should be more local, public-accessibly avenues available for sellers & consumers to buy/sell/trade their still-functioning and desirable goods in an open market. System seems designed so local and national government can collect 2nd and 3rd tax revenue on the same goods.

There are some online outlets like Yahoo Auctions where you can sell your stuff for a good price. Book Off and those places are horrible, like you say.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would question this number. I've done CO2 footprint calculations repeatedly, and I'm sure that 70% of my footprint is not products. If it were, my carbon footprint would only fall by 30% if I stopped using electricity altogether, stopped heating my home, and starting walking or cycling everywhere. When I looked one return intercontinental flight alone would increase it by a third. Most of my carbon footprint is fuel/energy.

Here's some data for cars

Standard gasoline vehicle 24 tons of CO2 over lifetime, 23% during production (5.6 tons).

Hybrid vehicle 21 tons of CO2 over lifetime, 31% during production (6.5 tons).

(source: Lifecycle emissions from cars - Zemo Partnership)

In both cases, the majority of CO2 is the fuel, tyres, etc. during driving. Most people would not consider that "products" and it is misleading to put in in that way. Replacing an old gas guzzling V8 with an eco car (of any type) will reduce CO2 after a couple of years or so. Replacing it with a second hand eco car will save CO2 from day one.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

my MIL has a rice cooker made in Japan that's older than my wife and still in use today... back in the day, made in Japan products were so well made

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Expecting politicians to do anything useful is naive and rather quaint. This is really down to us. We can audit our own day-to-day lives - everything we do, use and buy - and reduce our own impact on the planet. You might not think that is a lot, but multiply by a few billion and it is.

Without any real impact on our lives we can recycle and reuse much more, and reduce waste, in many cases by at least 20-30%. That's a decent figure across everything from energy use and food waste to consumer choices.

Your fridge is not a mini supermarket - buy what you plan to eat and eat what you have bought.

If you don't need something, give it to a charity shop. They get cash, a person buys something for less money, a new thing does not have to be made for them and you get space. You get the best deal of all - how much is a square foot of real estate where you live?

We can all contribute to our own food supply, without much effort. You can grow some food on a balcony, but if you have a garden, some fruit trees - apples, pears, plums, citrus in warmer climes - and bushes - currants and gooseberries or superfoods like Goji and Aronia berries, some wigwams of runner beans and some tomato plants are a start. Buy what you like to eat that gives a good yield. Most plants don't need any care - maybe some water if there is a drought. You can be self-sufficient in many crops for several months with very little space. Again, multiply that by a few billion and it makes a difference.

Grow a mix of native and cultivated flowers for insects and put some food and water out for birds and other wildlife. Birds are less likely to get avian flu if they spend the day roosting on your roof close to all they need. Your fruit trees will eventually get nests in them.

Compost your own waste for free soil conditioner. Recycle everything you can, from cardboard to plastics. None of this is rocket science and in most cases you are saving yourself cash. Every order I fill goes out using packaging recovered from incoming packages. It saves me a fortune.

It's better to do this for ourselves than to wait for governments to fail at it, panic, and ban loads of things.

Use your consumer power. Buy organic food to reduce the demand for non-organic and the use of polluting fertilisers. Supermarket restocking software will do the rest. Eat less meat and the impact of your diet on the environment reduces, from the amount of crops grown just to feed cattle to the methane they produce.

Humanity will always have a footprint - all species do. Zero or 'Net Zero' is impossible. Living like medieval monks is not a desirable option. Instead we need to crowd-source our impact reduction and reduce it as far as we can.

My fridge freezer is over 20 years old and was not an expensive model. My boiler is much older than that. If stuff is well made and can be repaired, it is better for the environment.

We don't need so much new tech, either. Most of us only buy it because tech companies block or break older versions, often on specious grounds. A browser translation layer means that any browser can be used safely on any operating system. Good anti-virus and solid, E2E encryption protects older software and operating systems. Then you can buy a cheap, second hand computer and use it safely.

Instead of buying a new car, get a mechanic to refurbish and tune up the one you have. It will feel like new.

Saving the planet is cheap, easy and can even save you cash.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

my MIL has a rice cooker made in Japan that's older than my wife and still in use today... back in the day, made in Japan products were so well made

Zojirushi still makes amazing and durable rice cookers. If there any criticism it's the teflon eventually pits and maybe flakes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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