Home Green Tech How to...

How to Minimize Waste By Repairing Broken Household Items


A scavenger, surrounded by a flock of Greater Adjutant birds, coThere is no doubt that the first reaction we have when our household essentials break down is to run to the store and get a replacement, sending the old appliance directly to the nearest landfill site.

Yes, it is the easiest option. But imagine how much good we can do for our environment if we took an hour to look into repairing that small broken part and prolong the life of that ever-so-needed item.

Analysts claim that the reason why we generate such enormous amounts of waste is simply the fact that the market offers way too many and very affordable items, making us somewhat lazy, if not ignorant, to see the big picture. As sad as it is, we all know it is true. Something as simple as stitching a hole on our sock is no longer seen as an activity worth sparing a few minutes for.

Of course, the best excuse is to say that we cannot do it, and that it is too complicated. But think about it, if you give it a try, it might actually turn out to be much easier than you initially thought, and if it really does not work, well then there is nothing to lose. How about this for a New Year’s resolution?

Now, to give you this extra push and help you take on the challenge to bring back old goods to life, here is a small compilation of tips and tricks that show you how to repair some of the most commonly found items in an average landfill, with the help of some simple tools and YouTube, of course.

1. Fix the washing machine

Ok, let’s start with the items that seem most difficult to fix. First, the washing machine. The biggest fear that everyone has is having to open a washing machine that has stopped working half way through the program, and liters of water flow all over the floor. Well, maybe this is the second biggest fear, the first is that the washing machine does this on its own, but let’s focus on the former. The main reason for such disaster to occur is a clogged pump filter. Look at your instructions manual to find out where exactly it is, and once you do that, you will be able to access it without having to open the washing machine door. You will be able to drain the excess water through an emergency drain, but also you can remove the filter and clean it. Here is a link to a small tutorial  by Kenneth Watt, showing you exactly how to do it. Not too bad, ah?

2. Fix broken drawers and shelves inside your fridge

No, it is not the end of the world if a plastic shelf inside the fridge breaks into halves, or if there is a crack on some of the drawers. Your nearest store might have the exact product you need, and it comes at a price much lower than a new fridge. This is Sugru, a molding clay product, which can not only stick any two parts together, but it can also be shaped into a missing part. The product is completely cold and heat resistant. Here is a small compilation of various applications of the miracle product provided by the inventors.

3. Patch up a puncture on your bicycle tire

Now this is one of the easiest and at the same time scariest things to do. For some reason, fixing a puncture on a bike tire always seems so much harder than it actually is. The Guardian provides quite a nice, very easy to follow, tutorial on how to do this simple repair without having to leave home.

4. Repair a broken smartphone screen

It sounds almost crazy to do it, especially when nowadays so many telecom companies sell insurance as part of your contract, and all you need to do is bring back the broken gadget, and they will give you a new one (of course it is all subject to terms and conditions, always read the small print!!). But if you’re not one of the lucky ones, who have this issue covered, then why not invest in a few parts, and get the phone working again, instead of throwing it and buying a new one. Replacement screens are cheap and available, and there are numerous tutorials online, that you can follow. Here it is one by iFixit, that will guide your way to fitting a brand new screen on your iPhone.

5. Stitch holes in your socks

You know you can do it. You might not want to, but you can! All you need is a needle and a thread. Sit comfortably on the sofa, get that torn sock of yours, turn it inside out so that the outside part looks pretty once you’re done, and get on with it. In just a few minutes the sock will look like it is brand new. Just don’t forget to tie up a little knot when the hole is filled. Here is a small tutorial by VideoJug, that will show you exactly how to do it.

6. Bring back an old computer to life

And last, but not least. The good old desktop. We all know that the more we use these things, the slower they become. Something that seems as a last resort is the reformatting, but often this is exactly what your system needs. Do it! Back up all your data, get yourself a CD with an operation system of your choice, and go for it.

Of course, it is inevitable that one day the time will come when the computer can no longer meet your growing technological needs. But when this moment comes, why would you want to send the machine to an e-waste site, when you can built this super cool robot out of the old computer parts.

Image (c) Reuters

(Visited 655 times, 1 visits today)


  1. I moved from Illinois to Michigan 5 years ago. The town I lived in had a store called “Mr. Fix-It.” Mr. Fix It has a booming business. He fixes, vaccums, irons, lamps, clocks, lawnmowers, sewing machines, toasters, bikes, etc. I saved so much money not having to replace everything that broke. I have not been able to find a Mr. Fix It here in Michigan. Is there one? It would be a perfect business to start especially in these difficult times.

  2. In the Netherlands we have ” repair – cafe’s”, where you can go with your broken items and get them repaired alongside a tutorial about what you could have done yourself, but , and that is the nice thing, you get also stuff repaired, you couldn’ t have done yourself for a small price. A lot of the repair people are disabled or jobless, so this is doing wonders for their self esteem. How about copying the idea?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.