Repair and Reuse

Concept of good enough

In today’s society we are constantly bombarded with newer and supposedly “better” versions, of objects or product most of which we already own a version of. This includes the latest phone, laptop and kitchen gadget, the miracle beauty product and home décor trends. This extends to cleaning products, garden equipment (fire pit anyone?) Christmas decorations and pretty much everything else around us.

Let’s take a pause and look at what we already own, is it “good enough”, does it still perform the function it was designed to do? Is a new kitchen gadget really all that necessary- how did we manage before ? Will we use it regularly ? Would owning a newer version of a product really improve things drastically ? Do we need the latest cleaning product that kills 99.99 % of viruses, is harmful to aquatic life and is full of chemicals and allergens or does a bit of dishwasher soap work ? If it’s not completely worn or broken can it be repaired patched up and mended ?

These are all questions we should be asking ourselves before we purchase anything new. The hard truth is that we have been programmed to consume for a number of decades now through clever marketing strategies. Shopping is seen as a hobby. We consume to grow the economy, the household consumption expenditure index tracks all spending on goods and services by UK households, an indicator of a “healthy” economy. The recent closure of large parts of our economy during the Covid crisis resulted in a drop of CO2 equivalent emissions worldwide. This is in large part a result of society buying less, spending less and using what they have.

In Japan, there is a philosophy of “Kintsugi”, or the art repairing broken pottery and highlighting the “repaired” damage. As a philosophy it treats the breakage and repair as part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise. We should be a little more Kintsugi in our choices, and value our possessions as we should do ourselves- embracing our age, character and uniqueness.

Here are some useful places to help you own less and enjoy what you have for longer in and around Epsom and Ewell.