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theguardian: Waste not want not: Sweden to give tax breaks for repairs

Go Sweden! The team at Buy-It-Once.com are very impressed.

Photo by fdecomite - https://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/1020029311/

In Sweden repairing almost everything will become cheaper.  Photo by fdecomite

The Swedish government is cutting tax for repairs in a deliberate move away from the throw-away culture of consumerism. It will be much cheaper to repair “everything from bicycles to washing machines so it will no longer make sense to throw out old or broken items and buy new ones.”

“I believe there is a shift in view in Sweden at the moment. There is an increased knowledge that we need to make our things last longer in order to reduce materials’ consumption,” says Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for financial markets and consumer affairs.

Read more in Waste not want not: Sweden to give tax breaks for repairs by Richard Orange at The Guardian.

 

The Minimalists Podcast on Consumerism

Smiling-Box-MenThe Minimalists are Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. They write about living a meaningful life with less stuff for 4 million readers.

In a recent episode, they discuss the perils of consumerism and answer the following questions:

  • How do you ensure the clothing you buy was created responsibly?
  • Where do you draw the line between spending more money for higher quality goods and getting sucked into consumerism?
  • How can you be a fandom collector and still be a minimalist?
  • How do you shop responsibly at warehouse club stores?

I want to thank the Minimalists for mentioning Buy It Once and helping to spread the message about buying ethical, high quality products. You can listen to the podcast below.

Intelligence in the fashion industry. Subtle signs suggest a trend of producing more durable clothes by Thomaz Wood Jr.

“…the phenomenon of new retail clothing, which often involves virtual stores that present themselves as “ethical and durable alternative” to fast fashion. Zady with the message “A lifestyle for conscious consumers,” Cuyana ( “Fewer things better”), Everlane ( “Modern basic, radical transparency”), and The 30 Year Sweatshirt ( “Guaranteed for three decades”) They are remembered by Cline. The move is catalyzed by websites like www.buy-it-once.com and www.buymeonce.com seeking to facilitate the search for durable goods, quality.”

CartaCapital

CartaCapital is a Brazilian weekly news magazine

Thomaz Wood Jr wrote an opinion piece titled Intelligence in the fashion industry for CartaCapital, a Brazilian magazine that focuses on politics, economics, social issues and culture. Wood writes about the subtle shift towards conscious consumerism in the fashion industry. This is a trend that we at Buy-It-Once are delighted to see moving closer to the mainstream.

Wood wrote his article in Portuguese and the passage above was automatically translated, as was the title, which has a possibly unintentional double meaning. You can read the rest of the translated article by clicking here. If you are lucky enough to be able to read Portuguese, then here is a link to the original article at CartaCapital, http://www.cartacapital.com.br/revista/891/feitas-para-durar.

 

A tale of two spades

All I needed was a garden spade. So after careful consideration, I chose a mid-priced spade, costing $22.98, with a 10 year guarantee, from an Australian company. I expected it to last. A guarantee is not just a promise of a replacement, but also, an indicator that a product is of high quality and is built to last.

But what happens when a product has a guarantee, but isn’t built to last?

Andrew Horton from Buy-It-Once.com

Andrew Horton from Buy-It-Once.com

A month later my spade, guaranteed for 10 years, was broken. It wasn’t until the spade’s wooden shaft had snapped that I noticed it was made in China. Companies in search of higher profits and lower prices have chosen China for low manufacturing costs and lower wages. Unfortunately, companies that have moved manufacturing to China haven’t just shaved cents off the dollar, but have also shaved the edge off quality and brand reputation.

With mud still on my shoes, I returned the broken spade to Bunnings. Bunnings is the biggest home improvement retail chain in Australia and New Zealand. The range is good and the “lowest prices are just the beginning”. I knew Bunnings would offer me a replacement, but how could I know the replacement would be better?

The selection of spades at Bunnings

The selection of spades at Bunnings

Up and down the aisle, I searched for spades with signs of durability. I read guarantees, checked where products were manufactured and noted prices. The friendly and helpful staff told me they had seen broken Spears & Jackson spades crossing the returns desk, but so far, they hadn’t seen any Cyclone spades being returned. That was good enough for me. So I walked out with the green Cyclone spade for $43.95. It cost nearly twice the price of my broken spade, and I gladly paid the difference.

Both spades at the Bunnings returns desk

Both spades at the Bunnings returns desk

Is the green Cyclone spade actually better than the blue Spear & Jackson spade? What does a guarantee actually mean? A lifetime guarantee versus a 10 year guarantee is basically equivalent, but, if we can’t look for guarantees as an indicator of quality, what can we look to? We can seek companies with long histories, ethical commitments, and sustainable supply chains. We can avoid products made in countries that are known for cutting corners, and favour nations with reputations for producing the highest quality products. Sometimes price is an indicator, but often we don’t get what we pay for. Instead, we just pay for brand positioning.

Both spades are made by companies that have long, proud Australian histories. Spear & Jackson was established in Australia in 1957 but, the current company has a history dating back to the 1700’s in England. They have divisions in England, France and Australia. They distribute their products across the globe and also own the famous WHS trowel brand. WHS is popularly said to stand for Work Hard or Starve, echoing the brand’s commitment to durability. Cyclone also has a long Australian history and was established in 1898. They quickly gained a reputation among farmers for high quality wire fencing. When construction began on the Sydney Opera House in 1958, Cyclone was there supplying scaffolding that could be relied on. Cyclone are now known across Australia for their hard wearing garden tools.

Both companies make commitments to ethical manufacturing. Cyclone signed the Australian Packaging Covenant, a progressive initiative to reduce waste and increase recycling. Spear & Jackson, have a “Supplier Code of Conduct” that prohibits human rights abuses and unethical practices by them and their suppliers.

Both spades have long term guarantees. Both spades are sold by Australian companies with long histories. Only the green Cyclone spade was made in Australia, whereas the blue Spear & Jackson spade was made in China. Cyclone writes on their website that “the reason our tools populate Australian garden sheds and tradesman’s trailers from Hobart to Darwin is simple…they last!”

When I buy online I read reviews, I check the background of companies, and do my best to find products that meet the “buy it once” standard. But sometimes I don’t have time to buy online so I just go to a mall. From now on I won’t just look for a guarantee, or just buy from a local company, but I will stand in the aisle reading reviews, checking where products are manufactured, and be sure that what I buy is truly “buy it once”.

The Atlantic: The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better

“Mainstream fashion’s bad behavior is arguably opening the door for these more ethically-minded companies to flourish. Last year, a particularly withering segment on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver and a similarly-themed documentary The True Cost detailed the environmental and labor costs of cheap, trendy fashion to the attention of large audiences. And in the last two weeks, H&M has admitted to finding Syrian child refugees in its factories in Turkey, while another of its suppliers caught fire in Bangladesh just a few days later.”

Elizabeth Cline wrote the passage above in her article titled, “The Power of Buying Less by Buying Better”, published today in The Atlantic.

Her article focuses on consumer trends towards ethical and sustainable clothing companies. She writes “Meanwhile, these new, durability-focused companies say their success lies in providing a true antidote to fast-fashion: ultra high-quality clothing, made sustainably, that people can afford.”

Thanks Elizabeth for including a mention of Buy-It-Once.com. I really appreciate it.

You can read the rest of her article here, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/buying-less-by-buying-better/462639/

 

Kathryn McKenzie, Living Green: Buy the things that last

Kathryn McKenzie, a columnist for the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper is writing her “Living Green” series. Her latest article titled “Buy the things that last”resonates with the Buy-It-Once message.

Kathryn McKenzie

Kathryn McKenzie

She writes, “Unfortunately, we have all become accustomed to buying cheap items, having them break and buying new cheap things — again and again — and this endless cycle not only wastes money but sends a lot of extra junk to the landfill. It’s time to break the vicious cycle of consumerism.”

I’m very happy to see Kathryn also points readers to “Check out Buy Me Once (www.buymeonce.com) and Buy It Once (www.buy-it-once.com) for online stores that carry items with lifetime or very long guarantees.” Thanks Kathryn.

You can read her article here, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20160211/FEATURES/160219916

 

Jane Macdougall: Buy it once, buy it right

There is, clearly, an argument to be made for buying the best you can afford. There is, clearly, an argument to be made that poor quality goods are an environmental plague in addition to being a false bargain. We’ve become too accepting that things simply fall apart and that we replace them.   Our possessions seem to be leased, rather than genuinely owned. After all, when you purchase short term utility, isn’t that usually referred to as “renting”? Whatever happened to durability?

The passage above is from Jane Macdougall’s latest article, Buy it once, buy it right, published in Canada’s National Post newspaper. She describes her experiences trying to replace a broken potato ricer. It had been handed down from her Grandmother to her mother, and now to her. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jane also included a reference to Buy-It-Once.com.

You can read the rest of the article by following this link, http://news.nationalpost.com/life/jane-macdougall-buy-it-once-buy-it-right

 

Why did my Pyrex dish explode? [Infographic]

All about why Pyrex glass explodes

Why did my Pyrex dish explode? infographic

Many people don’t know that there’s two types of Pyrex glass, one with a 10 year warranty, and another that will explode with rapid temperature changes. This is my first Buy It Once infographic and it’s all about why Pyrex sometimes explodes. It was a lot of effort to make, so if you like it please share it 🙂

Any comments are welcome.

Edit: Thanks to all the visitors from Reddit! It was fun reading all the comments.

First Buy-It-Once Blog Post

It’s been a tough journey. All I’m trying to do is find products built to last then check if they’re sustainable and ethically made. Researching products and making sure that they really live up to their claims is slow progress. Initially I hoped to find products with lifetime warranties but you’d be surprised how often a lifetime warranty really means 1 or 2 years. Slowly but surely the Buy-It-Once store is growing with more and more products that really are the best of their category.

The plan is to use this space to write articles, show info-graphics, and everything else that won’t fit into the main store.

Please leave feedback and use this as a place to discuss around durability, sustainability, and planned obsolescence.