A few weeks ago, our 8-year-old washing machine stopped working. For 10 whole, very long days.
We’re careful about not washing clothes unnecessarily, to minimise our environmental impact, so there wasn’t a mountain to do, at least. Thankfully we had several generous offers from friends and our clothes were laundered at their houses.
But what about the broken machine?
When I mentioned it in passing, several people said “oh they cost as much to repair as to replace - just get a new one.” Aware that there is no “out” when we throw something out, the thought of the huge carcass of this thing heading to landfill was grim.
And so, not for the first time, I found myself thinking about the right to repair, and the throwaway economy that the modern day society has created. My parents and grandparents grew up in a world where repair shops were commonplace, and “make do and mend” attitudes prevailed.
Repairability of appliances (large and small) should be prized, sought after, and even incentivised. Unfortunately, many manufacturers of our most popular household gadgets and machinery have made their repair impractical, expensive and sometimes impossible.