Sustainability action 2 : repair not throw

Dropping out of the throw-away society.

This Colchester crow found this discarded item interesting, but the items we throw away often harms animals and the environment.

This Colchester crow found this discarded item interesting, but the items we throw away often harms animals and the environment.

A few months ago the straps on my backpack had broken.  My sustainability action today was to take a needle and thread, then repair those straps.  I am useless at sewing.  My handiwork won no prizes, but those straps are now sewn in, my backpack is reusable again.

If an item can be repaired so that it safely can continue to serve a useful purpose, this is good sustainable action.  Being part of a throw-away society that throws away repairable items is unsustainable.

I have some socks with holes in, so I will be getting some further opportunities to improve my sewing skills soon.


22 responses to “Sustainability action 2 : repair not throw

  1. Any man, rich or poor, can profit from fixing his own broken backpack. The art of sewing gives chance to meditate, and to appreciate the things some take for granted. By sewing those threads, for each poke of the needle, is a symbolic act of the masculine penetration of the Will into the feminine principles of the fabric that constitutes reality, as in the time-space continuum that bring reality into hard existance. The fact of the matter is, that the backpack broke, it lost its function, but through Will you picked up the needle and what energy that didn’t manifest beauty went into restoring the usefullness and the function (and thus form) brought it into existance again.

    Doing repair where possible is an act of compassion for Mother Earth and all living things, as the ancients also lived in harmony with earth and never took from it more than necessary. Reducing waste is perfect spiritual return to values beyond the superficial.

    • Beautifully well said. I remember how you wrote in your blog about treating any activity as an art form, your words remind me of this. Your words capture the essence of how nature works.

  2. I’m a bugger for that. Throw away nothing that is repairable; or use it until it falls to pieces. My favourite T-shirt is torn, I’ll eventually get to needle and thread, throw it away, wouldn’t think about it.


  3. “A stitch in time saves nine” was a saying in my parents’ household. Mending and darning socks were done on a regular basis. Sock darning seems to be a lost art these days. If you don’t know how, I can send you a diagram and directions.

    As a child I had pillow cases made from white flour bags which my Dad would bring home from work. They had Golden Dreams stamped on them in black, which took forever to wash out.

    Reusing is a wonderful practice. Sometimes I find lovely fabric in a dress at the second hand shops. I may not like the dress and it may not be my size, but I can cut it apart and make something new. Cheap way to gain a nice collection of clothes, ones which are unique and not found in shops. Usually done in a style which will last for years.

    The bargains are awesome and I have absolutely stacks of shoes. Sometimes you luck in and get a brand new pair or ones worn only once indoors. And then there are the books, most are very cheap considering todays prices.

    • Your parents appear to have a good attitude to the idea of mending and renewing, something you have picked up.

      My skills are poor but effective when it comes to sewing. I can only learn through practice.

      Sewing is one of those skills all schools should teach. Schools are good on knowledge but bad on practical skills.

      We have many charity shops here in Colchester that sell second hand items, they are a treasure trove for those that wish to find something to reuse.

  4. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This throwaway society, I am guilty of. I have discarded with items I perceived too difficult to deal with & prefer to do without (so you can see how important the item was at all!).

    But this is a great post, and I’m right on it now, being very ingenius with things which tempt a trashing.

  5. [ Smiles ] Great post, Alex.

    If everyone developed that kind of attitude, we would have less garbage on the planet.

    Also, the situation with the torn back-strap presented you with the opportunity to try your hand at something new; such as sowing.

    Well done!

  6. Thanks for the idea Alex.Unlike you I can sew and very well but haven’t done it in years.After your effort I no longer have the right to excuses. I will make the effort to sew whatever could be brought into use with a bit of effort.That should be a dozen or so sustainable acts of my yearly quota.

  7. I’m proud of you!! 😀

  8. on my first visit to you blog i see this. (came here via eco-crap) makes sense. should you wonder why you can see my online shop which features an item (actually a service) of mending. of course the idea is really to get people to mend things themselves (as i can’t mend the world all by myself) but if you really need the service, i mend on mondays…

    take a needle and thread in hand and mend~one stitch at a time.

  9. When it’s too hard to handle for the needle or the machine, the local shoe repair shop can come in handy. But there aren’t many around anymore.

    • Colchester is blessed with a number of outlets that specialise in amending clothing, you would be surprised how many people now would like their clothes amended rather than buy completely new.

  10. did you read how birds are using discarded cigarette buts to line their nests to kill off mitesthat killthe chicks?

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