This is not about who we are or what we do, but rather what we consume. In the not-so-distant past, humans either made or purchased items they needed that lasted a lifetime. How many of you have parents or grandparents that have had the same stuff in their homes for their entire lives? I would venture to guess that the majority of those over the age of 60 have many high-quality goods in their home that could last another generation. And I would also guess that the majority of people 35 and under have stuff that will barely carry them into their 50′s…if even that long. Their furniture, clothing, kitchenware, and even possibly their homes are made of cheaper materials that don’t last nearly as long as they should.
And where does this stuff end up at the end of its short lifespan? Nothing actually “goes away”, even when it leaves your house for places unknown. While it may not be your problem anymore, now it is everyone’s problem – either through land taken up for burying it in or the pollution coming from incinerating it. More and more “throw-away” stuff is being sold in stores now, which means these problems are only going to continue to get worse. Saving $1 by shopping at that big-box store that shall remained unnamed contributes to way more than $1 worth of damage we have to clean up later, so by saving $1 today we end up spending more later. The key to ending this madness that is leading us down a spiraling drain?
photo credit: eob
Stop living throw-away lives.
We have to start spending our money on items that will still be around to hand down to our kids someday, or at a bare minimum can be resold to someone else looking for a quality vintage piece. You know how so many love that mid-century modern furniture that can still be found in second-hand stores across the country? It’s still there because it is timeless and well-built. What will be left over from the furniture we buy that we assemble ourselves and/or buy at that big-box store? Not much – it doesn’t stand a chance at lasting 50 years or becoming an heirloom piece. It will end up in a landfill in a few short years, more than likely.
The same goes for our clothes, our shoes, our electronics, what our food comes packaged in, the tools we buy, our kids’ toys, and even our homes. We need to start demanding better-made goods for when we do go shopping, and if our demands are not met, make careful choices about where we do our shopping. Sure, we can’t always buy the best or the most long-lasting; I will fully admit that I am as guilty as anyone else in that I have bought things that won’t last as long as they should. But I am trying! By being conscious about what we are buying, instead of just grabbing the cheapest version of whatever we need, we can make the changes necessary to stop living throw-away lives. After all, there is no “away”…keep that in mind the next time you are deciding to spend the extra money on something that will last a long time versus something you can tell won’t last a year. That extra “savings” is anything but.