I've been working and volunteering on a new exciting project happening in Edinburgh called Remade in Edinburgh which will be a new community-led initiative to create a reuse and repair centre in South Edinburgh. Excitingly we've already managed to make 'headlines'! Thanks to Michael Blackley from Edinburgh Evening News (29/01/2011).
As exciting as this project is I also think it is absolutely vital at this point in time. I was moving apartment this weekend (hence the lack of posts - apologies!) and it made me realize how important having a center like Remade in Edinburgh is.
I'm not a wasteful person by nature but pressed by time and lack of a reuse and repair center I was forced to throw out many items which I'm sure could have a) been repaired and re-sold and b) could have been creatively reused by someone else. Don't worry I already feel terribly guilty about so much waste cause by me, but I don't think it is an uncommon situation for most people, especially those renting where you have a short window to move and super-clean the place in order to get your deposit back.
All this of course begs the question of the chicken or the egg - Do we simply buy, accumulate and produce to much in the first place rather than recycle afterward? Once again I'm sure most of us would be guilty as charged (unless you live like a monk in which case super kudos to you).
But before we bow our heads down in shame and admit defeat it not your fault. As my friend Sophie (pictured in the article) reminds in many cases it is not the consumer's fault but the manufacture and the vicious cycle we're all sucked into. Remember the Story of Stuff? When something breaks, especially electrical goods, it is usually only one little part that needs repairing, but the repair usually costs more than to buy new and things are purposely built like this now-a-days to break easily, repair difficulty and therefore make us buy more, with manufactures hardly taking any responsibly for the waste or recycling of their items.
So before you throw your hands up and say what can I do, you can! Change the mentality of disposable and instead repair, reuse and as a last resort recycle. Get creative with your waste and breath new life into it. And also I guess it wouldn't hurt buying less. Below is the list of questions I ask myself before I buy something and I'm gladly passing this onto you in the hope it might help you de-clutter your life and the planet.
1. Do I already have one?
2. If yes do I need another one?
3. Where will it go in the house? - (as my father always told me: "Each thing has its place and each place its thing")
4. If I moved would I be willing it to lug it around?