When I was a kid we did not lack for much, but certainly were not rich. We did not throw anything repairable or reusable away. I can remember when getting something new was such a big deal that I would sleep with it that night. I can remember sleeping with a new pair of four-buckle overshoes.
Most kids with older siblings wore hand-me-down clothes. We now have businesses like Goodwill were people can donate clothes that are in good condition and have them put to good use. If I no longer have a use for something and it is in good condition, I try to find a way it can be put to good use. Habitat for Humanity’s Restore does an excellent job of putting furniture and building materials to good use. Goodwill, Restore, and other organizations like them do excellent work.
I still remember those lessons as a kid, and I think that mentality is good. If anything breaks and can possibly be repaired, I repair it. When my kids were little, they thought I could repair anything. Some people make fun of me for how long I keep things like clothes and shoes. One friend laughed at me for buying new shoelaces for shoes he did not think were worth the price of the laces. Another friend, that was a men’s clothing broker, told me I was so out of fashion that I was coming back into fashion.
We now seem to be in a throw-a-way society. This may be good for the economy, but it may not be good for personal economics or the environment. We are getting better at recycling and this is good. Recycling saves a lot of natural recourses and is good for our environment.
Solid waste companies have done an excellent job making it easy for people to recycle much of their garbage and most people have responded in very positive ways. There does seem to be a problem when the federal Environmental Protection Agency gets involved. I recently did a blog on how eliminating incandescent light bulbs will push people to fluorescent bulbs with the heavy metal mercury and no good means of disposing of this hazardous waste.
I recently learned of another example of our omnificent government at work. I knew throwing alkaline batteries in the trash for the landfill was bad so I have recycled all my used batteries for years. I would save them in an old coffee container in the garage. I would then take them to Batteries Plus to be recycled. I did this last week and was told the EPA had a new regulation go into effect. There is now a one-dollar per pound fee to recycle Alkaline batteries. I did not have many batteries, but batteries are heavy and they weighed five pounds. That means is would cost me five dollars to recycle the batteries. Who is going to do this?
The infinite wisdom of our federal government has now pushed most people to throw their alkaline batteries in the solid waste. The solid waste company is not supposed to accept them, but how will they see a few used batteries. Most solid waste is now containerized and mechanized anyway.
Our Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to help protect our environment, and not push people to hurt the environment. This is amazing to me, but what can we expect from the EPA with a trifling annual budget of only $8.5 billion dollars a year.