Fixing is good, right?! If we can make the stuff we own last longer, less of it will end up in landfill.
But there’s heaps of stuff in our homes that’s difficult to fix, difficult to upcycle and difficult to recycle, so keeping those items out of landfill and circulating in the economy is an ongoing challenge.
It’s all good and well to attempt to have only ‘zero waste’ items in our homes but most of us aren’t starting from a clean slate and most of us find we can’t control every interaction of every family member to allow us to control everything that makes it’s way into our home.
Part of zero waste living is embracing the stuff we have and learning to be resourceful and creative with it so that we can age with it, pass it on, and keep it out of landfill. Disposability is really a choice and repair is a mindset, so even really cheap things can last a long time if we decide we want them to.
One product I’ve discovered that can help us embrace our stuff and fix difficult materials like plastic parts, is Sugru Mouldable Glue. It’s claimed to be the world’s most versatile glue and can fix all sorts of stuff from toys, to gadgets, to kitchen appliances and more. The video below explains how cool this stuff is.
I actually resisted purchasing this product for a few years after learning about it because the product isn’t zero waste. The silicone rubber and part of the packaging do go to landfill at the end of their life. However, I remained intrigued by Sugru and the more I researched, the more I felt a connection with the brand’s ethos and with inventor, Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh. In the end, it seemed a bit silly to be so strict about zero waste products in my home if the product was actually going to prevent many bigger items from becoming landfill.
My opportunity to test Sugru came a couple of weeks ago when my daughter broke the wheel off her travel bag. She adores this bag and takes it with her every time she stays overnight somewhere, so she was devastated when it broke. A piece of plastic that held the wheel to the bag was lost, so I used Sugru to mould the missing part and stick it to the plastic that remained. I don’t know any other product that would allow me to do that.
The bag is useable again and we saved the whole thing from ending up in the bin, because let’s face it, it’s one of those items that would never be wanted by anyone in a broken state, even if the rest of the bag is perfectly fine. People won’t pay for, or take for free, a cheap kids travel bag that is broken when they can buy a new one cheap.
After this small victory, I started seeing other things around our home that I could fix easily and quickly with Sugru. I didn’t even realise how many little things had accumulated which I was resisting disposing of or recycling.
I repaired a tear in my son’s shoe, stuck the broken fireplace brush back together, stuck together a fridge shelf that fell out and cracked, stuck my ceramic tea jar back together, attached a cupboard door handle that I couldn’t get to attach with other glue or screws, and stuck the foot of my steel colander back on.
I keep thinking back to all the things over the years, like toys (here’s some real life examples), pots, mugs, and kitchen appliance parts, that could have been saved with this stuff.
The other thing I really like about Sugru is that it isn’t just about repairing stuff, it’s about solving problems – making something work you. Since my Inflammatory Arthritis diagnosis I’m much more aware of accessibility issues and how small changes can make a big difference to someone’s life. So, here are some examples of how Sugru can make things easier for people to use, like making things grippy.
What I hope people take away from this post is that fixing anything is an option. Just have a go and your confidence to fix things will grow.
Sugru is great for people just starting out on their fixing journey because they’ve made it easy to have some success. This can take someone from the mindset of “I’m not a fixer” to “maybe I could”, and eventually we might end up with more people who will tackle the systemic change needed to end planned obsolescence and mass consumption.
For more inspiration to fix anything check out the Sugru Fixer’s Manifesto. I really like it.
Sugru tell me they are working hard on rolling Sugru out to Australian retailers, but for now you will have to buy online if you want to try it. If you are following my blog from elsewhere in the world, you could check to see if one of their 5513 stockists is near you.