My sister had a small (okay, large) crisis just before Christmas. On December 21st, her oven died. Kaput, gone, just like that. Which was a serious problem as she was hosting Christmas dinner for 20 people.
On December 22nd, she started calling around to find a new range. This was a big problem, as she had a gas range and apparently there were none to be found in the city of Ottawa. And several stores told her, even if one could be found, it couldn’t be delivered in time… And even if they could deliver in time, they wouldn’t be able to get a gas fitter in time… Well, the staff at the new Lowe’s that opened in Orleans a few weeks ago found her a gas range on Dec 22nd. And they delivered it on Dec. 23rd. And a friend of my brother’s is a gas fitter and set everything up, so the Christmas turkey was saved (or rather cooked) afterall! Yay! Thanks Lowe’s staff!
What does this story have to do with disposable you wonder? Well, the oven that went kaput was only 7 years old. And her microwave, of the same age, died about a month earlier. And the dishwasher was replaced 2 years ago at the ripe old age of 5!
Does that sound right to you? Since when do major appliances have such a short life span?
The appliances we had when I was a kid lasted much longer than that – unfortunate, considering the ugly 70s colour choices. My mother’s current washer and dryer were purchased in 1985 and are still in great working order. Somehow I suspect that the front-loading washing machine we purchased in 2006 will not still be around in 2031…
So why is it that in the 50s, 60s, 70s and even 80s we had the ability to built things that would last, but today it’s not just the milk that has an expiry date?
How many DVD players, mp3 players, computers and TVs has your family gone through in the last 10 years? Do we even think about what happens to all the materials that were used in the fabrication of these items when we dispose of them? How about all the new metals, plastics and hazardous materials that are required to build new ones? Where does it come from, where does it go and at what cost to us?
As I ponder all of this, I shudder at all the waste, both in dollars and even more at the impact on the environment. There must be a better way.
I’ve never been into buying vintage, it just hasn’t been my thing. But perhaps buying things that are already in existence and that were built to last would be preferable to the incessant need to buy new items that lead to the production of even more new items with shorter and shorter lifespans…