The problem of our throwaway society is reflected not only in our food waste, but in all areas of our everyday life.
Chair broken? Quickly sorted out. Shoe soles worn through? Off to the trash. Kitchen appliance not working anymore? Get a new one that’s on offer right now. Mobile phone is “already” 2 years old? There has to be a new model.
This way of thinking may be good for the economy but it’s definitely bad for the environment and climate. It’s better to take care of the things we already own and to repair things before they are replaced. I’m sure you already know all about going to the tailor’s, shoemaker’s & more, but since I’ve got a lot of questions about specific products lately, how to repair or upcycle certain things, I’ll share some more tips today. Maybe there are some ideas that you didn’t know yet.
Hopefully everyone already knows that if your boots soles are damaged, you don’t need a new pair. The sole can be exchanged by a cobbler for a very reasonable price.
But what about old sneakers that are more likely to show cracks or holes in the upper fabric? Should you buy a new pair right away? Of course not, there is already a great alternative to a new purchase: With Sneaker Rescue you can get them fixed and easily receive a quote by sending a photo of the sneakers via WhatsApp. The service is available all over Germany!
A lot of you may already go to a tailor for various little repairs. But for a few types of clothing its a bit more complicated, for example outdoor jackets, jeans and suits. But even for these things there are alternatives to buying a new one:
- Buy directly from companies that also offer a repair service: Vaude sells, for example, spare parts, including for older models, and describes detailed instructions on its page. If the DIY is too complicated, you can also contact the Vaude repair service. Patagonia also has a similar principle. Either turn to the retailer, or you can see when Patagonia will do a Worn Wear Tour again.
- The same with jeans: Nudie Jeans offers, for example, free repairs on their own jeans, as well as repair kits.
- Otherwise just google or ask the tailor! There are now some companies that specialize in jeans repair, but also on the re-tailoring of jeans, just google one near you!
- For cashmere there is even a Cashmere Clinic, which repairs very holes for good prices!
Porcelain / dishes
Again I have a tip: Kintsugi – a traditional Japanese repair method using lacquer and gold or silver powder. The repair creates decorative patterns in the cracks. This golden highlighting of the blemish makes the once-broken ceramic looks higher quality than before. We used a DIY Kintsugi set for a matcha bowl and a handmade bowl. On the first try, it was a bit difficult to get a nice clean line. But on the second try it worked very well! And I think the bowls look a lot more special now! You can find the DIY kit, e.g. here (affiliate link).
Also here the motto is repair and reduce for the planet. A new device consumes a great deal of resources, the majority of which end up in the garbage, the e-waste mountains are growing, it costs money, and long-lasting products are still the most sustainable option. Unfortunately, manufacturers are more reluctant to offer repairs rather than a new purchase. New goods boost the economy, but damage the environment and the climate.
- For the informed new purchase: On Umweltberatung.at there is a flyer with purchase criteria for a durable washing machine. Also on Deutschland-repariert you will find some tips!
- For smaller devices, the certificate Der Blaue Engel helps!
- For repairs, first ask the manufacturer! More and more companies are committed to sustainability. I would test that and ask for spare parts, which often represent the sticking point. No repair without spare parts!
- Or you can turn to professionals, I’ve researched a bit for you: two that I found are Mein Macher and Deutschland Repariert
- There are also many repair cafes where you can repair everything under the guidance and help of professionals. On Repaircafe and Reparatur Initiatives you will find addresses and dates.
- I want to write an additional blogpost on the topic of electronic waste
Those were just a some ideas on how to avoid new purchases. There are certainly more initiatives, projects or companies to help you repair rather than throw away. If you know of any than please share them here in the comments!