Waste Not, Want Not

What I'm going to tell you is nothing new but it's a good example how we waste our planet's resources.

Our hedge trimmer started to work strange. It was still trimming but from time to time when attempting to cut little thicker twigs it produced grinding noise and couldn't move. It was most annoying so I decided to pull it apart and check what was wrong.

I checked the blades. They were clean and they moved smoothly. I checked the switches and the wiring. Nothing wrong there. So I had to open the gear box. After cleaning it of grease I finally located the problem. Two small gear wheels were worm out and had to be replaced. One of the wheels could be removed easily but the smaller one was permanently attached to a small electric motor. To replace this wheel I would have to replace also the electric motor. No problem. All I had to do now was to get spare parts, replace them and the trimmer would be as good as new. Piece of cake.


The insides of my hedge trimmer.

The two small parts I needed to replace.
$57.60 for the parts only.

A brand new hedge trimmer with a 2 year replacement warranty:
Who wants to fix an old one?

I took the damaged parts with me and I visited our large hardware shop. Yes, they can get the spare parts for me but they will cost $57.60. Do I want to order them? I would like to by them but should I?

A new, top-of-the range trimmer costs only $80. However, they also had another type of a trimmer for sale for only $40 each, with 2 years replacement warranty, and with 30 days customer satisfaction warranty. The trimmers were on special because they were replaced by a new model.

So here you are. I have done my best to locate the problem with my trimmer. I could have fixed it. I wanted to fix it. I know that it was a waste to throw it away but I was forced to do what I didn't want to do. I had to buy a new trimmer because it was cheaper than the two small parts for the old trimmer. I had to throw away all other good parts of my old trimmer, the blades, the switches, the battery, and the plastic casing. Such a waste!

Another titbit you might be interested in is that if you buy a battery operated trimmer and if in time the battery gets weak and needs to be replaced, the battery will cost you more than a new trimmer with a battery. Now try to figure this out: a new trimmer with a battery costs less than a battery. What a crazy world we live in.

This cannot be explained just by a cheap labour in China or some other such place. This is just a waste for the sake of profit. We produce more and more and we throw away reasonably good products to sell more and more. We do not care how much we waste. We measure our progress and our economy by how much we produce. We do not worry about how much we waste, and we waste a lot, everywhere.

Once upon a time we had a saying: "If it aint't broken, don't fix it." We still use it but it looks that it becomes obsolete. The new principle is: "If it's broken, don't fix it. Throw it away and buy a new one."

Such a thoughtless or (in my case) forced throwaway practice might be good for business but it's certainly not good for the environment and for the future of our planet. No wonder our consumption is so high. How long shall we be able to tolerate our wasteful use of planet's resources? We could reduce our consumption but we do not want to do it.

The example I've given here is only one small example of our wasteful use of resources. Our planet is rich but even the rich can get bankrupt if they foolishly squander away their possessions.