It is astounding to me how much stuff is thrown away in this country. If the average person gets their first set of appliances (range, dishwasher, refrigerator, washer and dryer) at the age of twenty and replaces them every ten years, They will throw away TWENTY appliances if they live to be sixty five. If those appliances can be made to last fifteen years, the number of appliances thrown away is HALF as many, ten.
Repair it or get a new one?
People ask me all the time if their appliances are worth fixing or if they should replace them. Unfortunately, this is not always an easy question to answer. Most everyone understands the financial aspect of the decision but I think it is important to consider the environmental aspect as well.
When I first started this business, I used to get appliances at the dump that had little or nothing wrong with them. I’d fix and clean them and sell them in the local classifieds. The dump doesn’t set appliances aside for me anymore but I’m still striving to keep appliances with serviceable life left in them out of the landfill and junkyard.
Once in a while, I’d get some appliance that was too far gone to save. I soon got in the habit of taking any good parts off it and stowing them away before I took the shell off to be crushed in a car at the junkyard. I’ve got lots of range knobs, oven racks, motors and a bunch of other stuff that I’ve accumulated over the years. Sometimes these parts come in handy for my customers and sometimes I use them to fix another used appliance for resale.
All the steel and aluminum I get goes to a junkyard where it gets recycled. Unfortunately, plastic still goes to the landfill because we have no way to recycle it here. Newer dishwashers are especially troubling for me to get rid of because they have a plastic shell that cannot be recycled and goes straight into the landfill.
So that’s my philosophy. If I can get just a few people to think about their impact on the earth rather than just their pocketbook when making decisions on appliances, I’d be delighted. ~ Bob