Shift your consumer patterns and become a fix-it warrior. These tips will help you choose sustainable items that can be fixed if they ever break.
- Be wary of buying seamless moulded-plastic objects that look like they don’t have an inside, Sandra advises. You will never be able to open them up to repair them. Also, avoid products with irregular screws other than a Phillips crosshead, as they require specialist screwdrivers for repairs.
- Avoid plastic in general – most irreparable objects involve defective plastic parts. “We love things made of real wood, they are easy to fix. With plastic, you can’t replace the part easily, it is not easy to repaint and adhesive doesn’t work well.”
- Before you buy a digital item, check ifixit.com – they take products apart and give them a repairability score out of 10. The Fairphone 3 scores a 10 versus a six for an iPhone. “Fairphone is a Dutch company that makes smart phones with materials that are ethically sourced or recycled. They are designed to be repairable, and in a modular way so you can upgrade parts. For example, if you want the latest and best camera, instead of buying a whole new phone, you can just switch the camera – you don’t have to get rid of the whole damn phone,” says Sandra.
- If a toaster is ridiculously cheap, chances are it was neither ethically produced nor is easily repairable. So buy the more expensive one and email the company first to ask it for details of whether it can be repaired. “The more noise we make, the more they will change.”
- “Get into the habit of buying second-hand.“ These are small steps an individual can do to shift consumption patterns. What if you bought 50 percent of your clothes used? Then expand your comfort zone into furniture, electronics, ceramics, jewellery, lamps.” Sandra bought a refurbished iPhone and has had it for three years.