Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reduce, Reuse!

Last week was recycle, and by sheer chance this week is reduce and reuse.

I have a lovely pair of boots, super warm and waterproof. I'll be needing them a lot this winter as I face SNOW for the first winter ever. The zippers have always been choosy, and when I was sewing the teeth of the zipper down, I managed to snap the zipper pull in half along the body. BAM! Expensive pair of boots now non-functional.

I'm moving to a town where biking is more feasible than driving a car. I definitely need a bike, but how to get one on a student's budget?

This, my darling readers, is where the other two, oft-neglected R's come into play. We're all good about recycling, but many of us (including me) forget to reduce our waste and reuse what we can.

I took my boots to a cobbler. It sounds old-fashioned, but for $12 I was able to get the boot back into perfect working order. $12 sounds like a lot for a zipper pull, but compared to $80 for new boots it's a steal. Reduced my need for new items? Check.

In hunting through the remnants of my grandmother's garage contents, I found a lovely bike. Problem: the bike is probably twice my age, has a chain that's rusted solid, and the back brakes aren't terribly responsive. A reuse is in the works. I don't know much about bikes, so I took it to pros and had them tune it. Not only were they absolutely entranced by a bike with little levers for shifters, they brought it up to working order. Also steep price for a student like me: $110 after labor. It's still cheaper than a few hundred for a new bike, though. Now that I have a clue what's going on and know the bike isn't going to fall apart, I can do my own maintenance. I wanted to have it professionally checked the first time, though, to make sure there wasn't any major issue that could be dangerous. What I did find out - it's a steel frame bike and apparently pretty darn tough, better than what I could buy in a store. That's a definite plus!

There you have it: for around a fifth of the price of replacing, I reduced waste and reused what I found. If you haven't ever tried a classic repair place, give it a shot. It'll be cheaper than buying new, and the planet will definitely thank you for the effort.

Oh, and you won't mind a proud newbie gardnerer bragging a bit, right?

1 comment:

  1. Fred would be proud. I've heard he was a bicycle aficionado.