Things break, right? It is a normal part of life. In addition, daily living produces all sorts of waste we are quick to throw into the bin. But perhaps there is a better way. Maybe we could focus more on green fixes and less on discarding old things and buying new replacements. A sincere effort to embrace the green fix is an opportunity to help save the environment.
What are green fixes? They are household projects that are based in the three principles of recycling, reusing, and repurposing. When something breaks, you don't immediately decide to throw it in the bin and buy something new. You try to fix it first. If it can't be fixed, you look for ways to reuse or repurpose the item. And if neither reusing nor repurposing is possible, you look to see if there is a way to recycle it or its various components.
Sugru is a mouldable glue product that can help with a variety of fixes around the home. Our customers have put it to the test in ways we had never imagined ourselves. From creating strong but removable wall hooks to turning discarded copper pipes into planters, they have figured out how to stretch Sugru as far as it will possibly go – to help them recycle, reuse, and repurpose.
Fix and Reuse an Old Chair
A good example of the green fix idea we talk a lot about is fixing and reusing an old dining room chair. Some of its spindles might be loose or cracked. The entire chair might feel flimsy and rickety. As long as you have all the pieces still intact, there's no need to throw that chair away. With the right tools and a little elbow grease, you can fix it right up and put it back into service.
Cracked spindles can be repaired with a little bit of Sugru mouldable glue. Use it like a putty of sorts to fill in the crack and hold the two pieces together. Meanwhile, a little bit of wood glue applied to all the joints will give the chair the necessary strength to still be useful. Once your green fix has created a strong and stable chair, you can sand it down and refinish it.
How This Green Fix Helps
You might not consider this fix a green fix because it doesn't have anything to do with plastic, glass, metal, etc. But that old dining room chair is made of wood, right? If you throw it away, you will create the need to manufacture a new wood chair to replace it. That means utilising more wood. It means contributing to environmental concerns by way of all the negative impacts manufacturing has on the planet.
On the other hand, going the green fix route keeps the chair in use. That means one less piece of rubbish in the landfill and fewer resources necessary to make a new chair. A single chair being fixed and returned to service might not mean much on its own but think about the enormous impact millions of repaired and reused furniture pieces would have on the environment.
Stretching Things As Far As They Will Go
The entire green fix concept is based on stretching things as far as they will go. If you think about it, stretching things used to be the norm. Before the world had access to cheap consumer products produced by the mass market machine, throwing things away and replacing them was too expensive. So instead, people learned how to fix. What they couldn't fix they learned to reuse or repurpose.
Earlier you read about turning copper pipes into planters. We actually have a blog post on our website describing how to do it. The idea is pretty ingenious. Although you can make small copper planters with brand new pieces of copper pipe, your materials don't have to be new. Any scrap pipe you have laying around the house will work. Without getting into all the details of how to make the actual planters, here is a simple breakdown:
1. Assemble Your Materials
To make this project work, you need some basic materials. You need small pieces of copper pipe, a copper elbow for each planter you want to make, penny washers, and circular magnets small enough to fit inside the open end of the copper elbow. You'll also need some Sugru, a piece of sandpaper, and some spray lacquer to prevent corrosion.
2. Assemble the Planters
You assemble the planters by using Sugru to attach magnets to the ends of each copper elbow. Then you insert a small piece of copper pipe into the other end of each elbow. Next, you use Sugru to a fix a penny washer for each planter to the desired wall. Once the Sugru sets up and dries, you simply attach each planter to a penny washer by way of the magnet. Then add a little soil and a small plant.
Our description here doesn't do justice to this project. So if you want the full details, check out the blog post. We provided a link to it earlier in this post.
The thing to remember is that making these handy little planters out of scrap copper pipes constitutes and green fix. It is a green fix because you are preventing the pipes from ending up in the rubbish bin. You are also avoiding having to buy plastic planters from the store, thereby reducing the need for manufacturers to make more plastic planters.
Repurposing Old Glasses and Swimming Goggles
If you've never considered the green fix concept before, don't worry about not being able to come up with 100 great ideas right away. It takes some time to get into the groove. But once your mind is thinking green fixes, don't be surprised to see your own level of creativity blossom. There are a lot of amazing projects just waiting to be done.
For example, one of our customers recently sent us pictures and an explanation of how he repurposed old glasses and swimming goggles to create a pair of inexpensive prescription goggles he can use whenever he swims. As a prescription eyeglass wearer, he is essentially blind when he goes in the water. At least he used to be. He is no longer blind thanks to his DIY prescription goggles project.
Here's what he did:
- Removed the lenses from an old pair of prescription glasses
- Attached the lenses to an old pair of swim goggles using Sugru
- Cleaned everything up and waited for the Sugru to dry
That's it. It took him just three easy steps to turn a pair of glasses he was no longer using into something he will use every time he goes swimming. Incidentally, Sugru is waterproof. He will never have to worry about water getting in between the prescription lenses and the built-in swim goggle lenses. He also won't have to worry about the mouldable glue coming loose in the water.
As with the previous project, you can get the actual details of this one by checking out our blog post. We have included instructions and photographs. If you like what you see, maybe you'll want to try this green fix yourself. It is one of the easiest green fixes we've ever seen.
Recycle, Reuse, and Repurpose
As we wrap things up for this blog post, let's talk briefly about recycling, reusing, and repurposing. All three things apply to the green fix mindset. Remember that fixing things is all about stretching them as far as they will go. It is about reducing stress on landfills as well as eliminating some of the demand for new manufacturing.
Recycling, reusing, and repurposing are different philosophies driving the same process of finding ways to use things rather than throwing them away. The prescription swim goggle project is a classic example of recycling. Our customer recycled prescription lenses he had no other use for. By doing so, he kept those glasses from sitting around and collecting dust until eventually winding up in the rubbish bin.
You could also make the case that the project qualifies as a repurposing project. Our customer repurposed prescription lenses that weren't originally designed to be inserted into swim goggles. Nonetheless, he made it work with a little creativity and some Sugru.
Perhaps he also reused a pair of old swim goggles that might have otherwise remained unused altogether. We don't know that for sure, but it's a possibility. So the case could be made that the project was also a reuse project.
You Can Join the Green Fix Movement
When all is said and done, we hope this post has helped you realise that you can join the green fix movement yourself. All over the world, people are waking up to the fact that modern society throws away too many things. Much of what we throw away we do so needlessly. If you would like to do your part to change that, embrace the green fix concept and run with it.