I recently realized that I've been wearing the same pair of glasses for the last 10 years. I've been riding my Sector 9 longboard the same amount of time and until recently, wore a bike helmet I bought for a quarter at a yard sale when I was 19 (I'm 31 now). I have a few shirts from high school that make it into my regular wardrobe rotation and still like to take pictures using my dad's old Nikon camera. My favorite pair of sandals were given to me by my grandfather when I was 16.
The greenest thing you buy is the one that you don't*.
Our grandparents knew the value of stuff; they grew up in a society that scrimped and saved and scrapped its way through a couple of world wars and an economic depression only to watch their children raise a generation of materialistic consumers. My generation doesn't value permanence. We've been raised to dispose of everything -- when was the last time you brought a pair of shoes to a cobbler to get fixed instead of tossing them and buying a new pair? Does your town even have a cobbler anymore?
We use and throw away plastic cups and razors, we treat cell phones like fashion accessories, upgrading to a new phone whenever we want something cuter or more powerful or with more megapixels. We live in a throw-away culture.
In a disposable world, items that stick around take on an aura of familiarity and permanence. I was curious to see what some of my friends had in their lives that had been around a long time. What kind of things are turning into usable heirlooms? Who else keeps their cell phone until it literally won't turn on anymore?
Here are some responses from Twitter and Facebook. Please leave your own stories of using old items in comments.
Thanks to Twitter pals @turnaroundart
, @ryanleedotnet, @RyanMilani, @Pappawolf
, and my pals Robin, Haley, Dan, Megan, and Mary from Facebook for helping me out.
*There are exceptions to this rule -- when you can replace something like an energy-wasting old fridge or something that's made with toxic materials.
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