Adding Repair to the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Mantra

Contemporary life has made it all too easy for us to consume anew instead of fixing what is fixable. I am adding “repair” to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra.

Since the shelter in place order, I have had four humans sharing a ~650 square foot space ~24 hours a day for two months. This happening has accelerated the wear and tear on many of our daily items. One such item being an old auxiliary sound system I have got hardwired to an Echo Dot which we use all waking hours to play music, set alarms, and trigger smart home items. Long story short, the aux cable got jammed into the input resulting in some less than delicious static. Upon my first scan of the situation, I nearly did what many of us would instinctively do, run to Amazon to replace it. Instead, I paused and worked the situation. With a little help from the amazing resource iFixit: The Free Repair Manual, the static disappeared. I would much rather deal with the complications of technical debt, like patching back together a 15-year-old aux sound system, than add to the technical waste that is overwhelming our landfills.

Before you jump to Amazon for the latest and greatest, consider this order of thinking:

  • Can you fix it?
    • Yes, fix it!
    • No, keep going…
  • Do you still need it?
    • No, problem solved!
    • Yes, keep going…
  • Is it urgent to replace?
    • No, try thrifting it from a store, Craigslist, or other second-hand digital market!
    • Yes, alright, you win today, Amazon…

Tools on table with text adding “repair” to the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra

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