Don’t despair a little wear and tear—think repair! Rather than dispose of something that is broken, why not break ground and find a fix? Replacing parts is part of replacing old habits—and while we may not all be handy, we do all have a hand in our impact on the environment!
Have a product malfunction? In many cases, a simple fix may be in order. While many products are not designed to last forever, local experts can help extend the life of the products we buy- or try fixing it yourself.
Do-it-yourself repair will cost you some time but can improve your shopping habits (purchase longer lasting products, perhaps), teach you something new, and feel very satisfying. The Fix-It Club offers over 180 FREE step-by-step fix-it guides from blender to rug repair. You can even DIY with others: join the West Seattle Fixers’ Collective on the first and third Thursday of every month from 6pm – 9pm at the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center.
Luckily, you do not have to look far for local repair help if you need assistance with your fix-it project. Some brands like Patagonia and REI even have repair services for products purchased through them.
If repairing an item isn’t an option, you can still help keep reusable parts and recyclable materials out of the landfill by donating parts to repair shops and recycling what cannot be salvaged.
To learn more about local recycling options, call 1-800-RECYCLE or use King County’s “What Do I Do With?” lookup tool.
The Big Picture
In the Annual Product Reliability Survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center, over 13,477 subscribers are asked to share their experiences with 20,613 broken products.
In response to the survey, Consumer Reports provides “repair or replace” product timelines and information about where to recycle unfixable items. Read the updated 2011 report to learn about which products break, which don’t, and how to know if it’s actually broken in the first place. Note: some of this information, including repair-or-replace timelines, is only available to subscribers; your local library in King County or City of Seattle may have a copy of the August 2011 Consumer Reports Magazine.