Home > Outside The Home > Repair and Reuse Your Broken Items

Repair and Reuse Your Broken Items

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 29 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Society Environment Resources Rubbish Uk

Britain's throw-away society is damaging the environment, wasting precious resources and creating mountains of rubbish. Much of what is thrown away is in perfect working order but is discarded because it is out of date or no longer needed. UK households throw away 25 million tonnes of waste every year - that's about half a tonne per person - and there is another 375 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste.

In general, people are more affluent these days and products are more affordable, so the easy option is to throw away dated or broken items and buy in new ones. The UK is a nation of gadget lovers, but fast-moving technology makes the gadgets of today obsolete within a couple of years in the eyes of many. Often the new gadget is bought as a fashion statement or status symbol rather than for what it offers in terms of new features.

Throw-Away Nation

The manufacture of electronic goods requires a lot of energy and this contributes to climate change. Yet every year in the UK, more than six million electrical items are thrown out, and more than half are still working or could be repaired easily. The average British resident generates 3.3 tonnes of electronic waste in their lifetime, and these goods often contain harmful chemicals like mercury and lead that have to be disposed of carefully to prevent pollution.

A simple way to reduce the pollution is to make use of items for longer. During its production and operation, a desktop PC uses 10 times its weight in fossil fuels and chemicals, so instead of buying a new one consider upgrading the operating system, increasing the memory or replacing the hard drive. There is no need to replace televisions, digital cameras and mobile phones on a regular basis either, yet many people do.

Get it Fixed

Repair and reuse is often cheaper and is certainly a much better option for the environment than recycling or disposal. Recycling requires additional resources to convert the material into a new product, while disposal wastes valuable resources and means more raw materials need to be sourced. Try to find a new home for unwanted items. Donate to charity shops, sell at jumble sales, car-boot sales or online, or swap with friends and neighbours. Take unusable items to a recycling centre so that harmful or valuable materials can be removed safely and either reused or disposed of.

More than three quarters of the UK's waste ends up in landfill sites. This creates local pollution, including the production of methane gas, which is one of the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Another nine per cent is incinerated, but up to 80 per cent of it could be recycled instead.

Mend or refurbish furniture to give it a new lease of life. Restore sofas, chairs and tables, or recycle unwanted furniture. The Furniture Recycling Network has details of local schemes that pass on furniture and appliances to low income families. Repair clothes, curtains and linen, hire items that are only needed for a short time. Borrow books and DVDs from libraries or share with neighbours and friends, and do not use disposable products, such as razors, biros and cameras.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Evo3
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi I’m wondering if someone can help me. I’m looking to see if there are any grants available to help with building a few different…
    20 February 2020
  • Red Dog
    Re: What is the Equivalent Wattage for Energy Saving Bulbs?
    I like a very bright light in my living room as a dim light gives me headaches and depression,…
    9 February 2020
  • JULIE
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    hi i am building my own house it is going to be a farm house can you tell me if there are any eco grants out there to help me go…
    5 February 2020
  • EcoGreen Organics
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Hello, we are looking for equity partners for the Waste to Energy Project in Zambia.Waste to Energy Project is based on…
    1 February 2020
  • rach
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    Hi, there seem to be no links to suggest where this funding is available from. Can you help point towards application forms etc.…
    30 January 2020
  • LEL
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    I’m making enquiries regard above information on behalf of St Christopher School Codsall, Wolverhampton. In particular garden…
    23 January 2020
  • peter
    Re: Eco-Community Groups
    Hi, We are looking for funding to improve the insulation on our community based social club, we host a varied selection of community based…
    13 January 2020
  • Glo h
    Re: Eco-Community Groups
    Hi I own a small food business, I was wondering if you could help me with a grant to go biodegradable I have done some changes its just so…
    8 January 2020
  • Stacey
    Re: Are There Any Grants for Water Treatment Systems?
    Hi is there any kind of help that you can with a new drainage system all around the house my drainage…
    21 December 2019
  • Jase
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Hi I am looking to bring a eco friendly building material to the UK. Then mass manufacture it and ship national. The…
    15 December 2019