business circular economy shopping

Buy it once and keep it forever

As we look at ways to reduce waste and move towards a circular economy, our attitude to the things we own is going to shift. Buying things, using them a few times and throwing them away is going to be less and less common – or if things are thrown away, it will be because they have been designed for that purpose and can be recycled or composted.

There are three main approaches to making a sustainable object. It can be made to be reprocessed. It can be designed for easy repair, by making it modular, easily to open and so on. Or it can be made to last as long as possible. A recent project explored these three options with the toaster, as you may remember.

This week a friend introduced me to a website that specialises in the latter approach. BuyMeOnce.com “finds and promotes products that don’t break the bank, don’t break the planet… that don’t break at all!” It features a range of items, across a number of categories, that all come with a lifetime guarantee or that are known to be highly durable.

davekumbrellaSome of them I have written about before, such as the 30 year sweatshirt or the indestructible football. Some of them are household names, like Le Creuset pans or Doc Martens shoes. Others are new to me, some of them particularly intriguing. A sock company that offers a lifetime guarantee? That’s bold. And I may save up my pennies for a Davek umbrella.

Not everything can be made to last, and there are plenty of things we wouldn’t necessarily want to keep forever. But there are also many things that don’t last as long as they should. I get particularly frustrated with tools. Some of the new tools I have bought, even from known brands, haven’t lasted. I’ve got others that I’ve inherited or bought from car boot sales that are going strong after decades of use. I think there’s a real market for quality goods, whether it’s household items or clothing basics. I know I’m not alone in wishing I could buy fewer, better things.

If you’re interested in buying fewer items of higher quality, take a look at BuyMeOnce.com. And thank you to Tara Button for building the site, and doing one more thing to help “throw away our throwaway culture.”

3 comments

  1. This looks good – I repair a lot of stuff myself but…

    How many people will this make redundant? What will be the loss of tax for public services? etc. I also want the world population to be no more than 1 billion which might help?

    1. Well, there would be fewer sweatshops jobs churning out shoddy merchandise, that’s for sure. There would be more jobs in repair, though they would not balance out.

      And while almost every environmental issue would be easier with smaller population, 1 billion isn’t going to be possible in any foreseeable future. Slowing growth and allowing the population to peak sooner is the best we can hope for right now.

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