Saturday, October 10, 2009

Disposable....?

A few years ago we needed to buy a new TV. The one we had was selectively choosing which channels to show and enjoying sending horizontal lines to interrupt important TV moments. A friend of ours is actually an official TV repairman so after describing our dilemma, I asked him what I should do. His advice..... just get rid of it and buy a new one. I couldn't believe that this TV was so far beyond repair and nurture that this was the best and only alternative for its 10 year lifespan. He said the TV would cost too much to fix and new ones aren't that much, but in about five years I should expect to have to buy another TV when the new one craps out....

Imagine my shock. Then I began to notice this phenomenon happening in other areas of my life. Computers, cell phones, furniture, clothing, food..... the list goes on. At what point did we turn from our grandparents way of thinking, that everything can be used for something and then re-purposed at a later time to meet our new need? How did we arrive at..... just throw it out and buy a new one? Is it from McDonald's and all those Happy Meal toys? You know those things have such a limited amount of fun and usefulness. Those I do not feel guilty about throwing out.
My dilemma is that I heard my daughter speaking the words I never thought a child of mine would utter.... "It's ok, you and dad can just go and buy another one". My shock! My horror! Sac-re-lidge! The "recycle... reuse people" are trying to save a couple of newspapers or soda cans, but let's get a reality check here, our entire culture has this mentality. At what point do we REALLY TRY to go the distance with our lifestyle choices and stop treating things like disposable diapers....? (no picture required, you get the visual, right?)

33 comments:

Andrea said...

It is very scary how we have become a disposable world. We are still using a 30 year old TV and it works well. We would like to have a new one, but can't seem to justify it as long as this one works.

Blessings, andrea

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I'm recycling everything I can. Sometimes I get lazy and toss something and use the excuse, "Oh, they'll burn it for fuel." Wrong!

Thinking about Christmas this week. It would be great to recycle some things and make decorations and gifts. Ideas? (Will post on this too!)

Skip said...

Where I live in NY state, they seem to be enforcing the disposable mindset with cars... to pass inspection your car's check engine light must be off - otherwise automatic failure. It can get pretty costly now in a vehicle thats a few years old to fix everything so the light is "happy"... things that aren't necessarily related to emissions of safety, minor things that the manufacturer has decided to alert you about with the thousands of sensors now put in every vehicle... so what's the alternative.. buy a new one! ;-(

Joanne said...

The way technology changes, it doesn't make it easy for us to be thrifty, does it? But maybe with the "going green" recycling efforts, a new mindset will take hold? I hope so!

Teri said...

My husband and I have been having this same conversation lately. He works in an industry where he has to upgrade his computer every two years. I shudder to think of the waste, as mine has been going just fine for over three...and still has all the power I need. I don't know how to change this mindset. I work really hard with my children, but I think that society as a whole is moving to a toss away society, and it is influencing how they think. At least I'm getting them to donate clothes that are outgrown..... :)

Nancy said...

Most of the things my parents owned lasted a lifetime. Not cars, but they only had one, ever. I think the problelm is that the new manufacturers make things to last a short time. It would be great if things worked longer.

Faith Imagined said...

So true!

Chico Woo said...

Nothing wrong with disposable. I like disposable. Disposable diapers (child and adult), disposable cameras, disposable contact lenses. Disposable things are great. Just as long as we don't make disposable friendships or relationships.

Sorr was that too deep for my first comment on your blog. Oh yes please turn off the music. Please.

Diane said...

Andrea-Older things were generally made better, I absolutely agree!

Donna-You go girl.... I am not as a hardcore recycler like you, but I am trying to do my part.

Skip-I'm from NY too and know all about it! :O)

Joanne-I am cheap, I mean frugal, I love to pinch pennies!

Teri-My husband is not as thrifty as I am either. I am trying to teach our children. Times seem to only be getting tougher so they'll need to learn to tighten the money belt. :O)

Faith- Thanks!

Chico- What can I say? I knew you would comment today and I wanted to have music for your young uns'. I know you know all about the diaper thing..... :O)

Bane of Anubis said...

remember my dad always saying things like 'They don't make 'em like they used to'... always thought it was a bit of nostalgic hogwash, but given the cheap fabrication methods nowadays, I foresee telling my kids the exact same thing (the horror :)

Janna Qualman said...

What a true post! And it is a sad recognition. But I love repurposing things, and hope I can continue doing just that.

Elise said...

I agree with Andrea - but we live in a disposable world and sometimes a lot of the things we buy are made to be disposed of rather than kept. Which is a shame.

Couture Cookie said...

I agree - it's disturbing how the value of something diminishes to zero as soon as you unwrap it and start using it. I've had my fair shares of this phenomenon too: laptops, cameras, iPods... what a waste, when you think about it.

Hilary said...

I think Nancy nailed a huge part of it. These big ticket item are simply not made to last as they used to be. Thirty+ year old items are still kicking when 10 year old items are not. Add a changing technology to that and things become replaceable. "The hurrier we go, the behinder we get."

Mountain Woman of Red Pine Mountain said...

Your post struck a chord with me. My television broke a couple of years ago and I just didn't have the money to buy a new one. I tracked down a repair man which wasn't easy and he fixed it for not a lot at all. He told me it had lots of good years left in it.
We just reuse everything we can or use it until there is absolutely no alternative.
Reminds me of shoes as well which we always took to be resoled. Now you can't find anyone doing that.
Anyway, great post.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Gawd! I know - one of my pet peeves! I bought one of those MotoR razr phones and was so excited - that thing barely barely lasted 2 years - not even 2 years - when I called about it, the girl said "Um, cells aren't made to last past 2 years" I said what? huhn! -- my hb has had the same little cheap cellphone for 5 years - five!

Our TV is still going strong - maybe - at least 8 years, maybe more...although those flat screens sure look inviting we will hang on to what we have until it goes bad!

Natalie said...

Oh, I agree. I can't throw good things away--they always go to a thrift store. When I need something new I almost always check Craigslist first. We are still using a 30 year old hand-me-down T.V. from my parents. We have great curbside recycling here which makes recycling so much easier.

It's still sick how much stuff we waste.

Jessica said...

This is funny! I can understand because hubby and I are pretty frugal. Sometimes you have to buy something new, but we don't like to. LOL

mommanator said...

loved the song!
do you have that address for the books you can resell?, I think it was you??

Dori said...

Great post and so true!

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I agreee. When I was little, we didn't have things, much less stuff to throw out.

In reference to the TV, you may find that renting your TV is a lot better and cheaper in the long run. The TV company sends repair men around any time something goes wrong with the set or reception. YOu get them replaced for free in cases like yours, and you qualify for an upgrade every year. If you're going to get a new one, consider renting one.

Anne Marie said...

hi......I saw you at Marydon's place.......and after reading this post, I wanted to tell you that we don't watch tv........we have 5 kids......we only occassionally do a movie rental (that's the only reason we own a tv) -

you'll be surprised at the change in your family dynamics - trust me -

Sugar Creek Beads said...

My goodness, I never thought of us living in a disposable world but we sure are. As long as we are keeping our friends and love ones we are not disposing of the most important things in our live. Jeanne

Deborah Ann said...

I confess, that's me sometimes. Great post!

Melinda said...

I understand! My kids are the same way and I truly don't know where that came from. Oh, wait ... me, right? Yikes. It is so easy to get in that "get a new one" mentality. Good reminder!

Stephanie Faris said...

And the worst part is trying to dispose of an old TV. It's not like you can just toss it in the garbage. We ended up selling ours in a garage sale. We try to sell a lot of stuff on Craigslist but that's a pain in the rear. Most of the time we just end up taking it to Goodwill or setting it on the sidewalk and writing "Free stuff" on it.

Tamika: said...

We have tragically lost the appreciation for what we have been blessed with. Technology and modernization have made it increasingly popular to have the newest toys.

A part of me will always appreciate antiques and the old way of doing things. Like reading book and feeling the pages, rather than scrolling down a Kindle.

Things do change.

Ello said...

Excellent post. My kids had this mentality also and I find it really hard not to get mad at them. But it's not their fault. So a couple of years ago we made a conscious effort to make them realize that everything was a luxury. I think it is slowly starting to sink in now but it is an uphill battle sometime.

Jody Hedlund said...

Interesting way to think of this! I'm sure I'm guilty of this mindset to some degree. We're all influenced by our culture. But I also have to agree with your TV repair friend. Nowadays the availablity and cheapness of things lends itself to buying a new one rather than fixing the old. Technology changes so quickly too! Computers become obsolete after five years. Same with cell phones and lots of other things! We have to consciously go against the grain to try to teach our children to conserve and live simplistically!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

This is so true...what did happen to reusing or repurposing items? I think much of this came from outsourcing our products to find a cheaper form of production. Products "back in the day" were much more substantial than they are now. The sad part, we are paying more for the disposal of the throw away than the long lasting products of yesteryear as well as contaminating our earth with the production. I am seeing a tendency with younger generations to repurpose and reuse pieces...let's just hope this stays!

Amy De Trempe said...

I am all for disposable diapers. But with everything else we make it last as long as possible and fix until it can't be fixed any longer. What we can't wear any longer or don't need, we send to Goodwill.

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

So true! That mentality has been going on for quite some time now. You can't even find a repair place for appliances other than maybe washer's and dryers these days. Forget fixing a toaster - it's just toss and get a new one!

Manuela

CMOM Productions said...

I'd have to agree with you there! I also wish companies would focus on quality instead of constant upgrades! It's frustrating. I appreciate just being satisfied with what I have.

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