Thursday, January 3, 2008

#151 - When Life Hands You Cheap Plastic Shit

Make Cheap-Plastic-Shit-Ade

Look at that laundry basket, will you? What a piece of crap. I've only had the damn thing two years and already one of the handles broke off. Apparently, it's not strong enough to withstand tying a rope around the end and dragging the kids through the house, pretending it's the SS Minnow. You'd think they'd put that on the label or something.

Anyhow, the old me (meaning the "me" before I went green, not the "me" who is actually old, and getting older by the minute) would have tossed this puppy in the trash and happily trundled off to Target for a new basket. New me (meaning the "me" after I went green, not the clone I just made in the garage) will be making do with her crappy, broken basket.

Oh sure, I could go out and buy some sort of environmentally-friendly basket made from recycled plastic bags or hemp or biodegradable monkey poo, but I don't want to be accused of falling for the "greenwashing" that is so prevalent these days. Instead I will once again do the absolutely most enviro-friendly thing I can think of: nothing.

Is it a hardship to live without a third handle on my laundry basket? Certainly. Now I have to carry the basket using one of the other handles. Will I survive? Honestly, I'm not sure. But I'm willing to try.

Besides, back in the olden days, when something broke, yet still served its original purpose, you either fixed it or dealt with it. Replacing it wasn't always an option, much less the first choice. And from now on, I'm going to either fix it or deal with it, whenever possible.


One laundry basket. Oh, and one broken cleaning caddy. And the spatula that's bent funny. And the blender that I have to wobble around to get the blades to engage. And this laptop whose cord doesn't work right and whose screen has lost its brightness. And... you get the idea.

Difficulty Level: 1 out of 5

Sure, it's a bit of a nuisance, but so is drowning an entire planet in discarded plastic, just because you don't feel like making cheap-plastic-shit-ade. Drop a line, I'll give you the recipe.


Wendy said...

Very funny! It is a challenge changing our attitudes and mindsets, isn't it? It's easy to just toss and replace. It's much more difficult to think about whether or not we really need that new thing. Kudos for picking the latter ;).

heather t said...

Try tying a length of the rope through two of the holes underneath where the handle used to be. Instant handle!

The other thing they should put on the label is that pushing the basket around to play Trains might make the top rims crack right smack in the middle, making for a very flexible basket.

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for the last week or so (can't recall how I found you - it was a blur of a surf-ridden day) but I'm really enjoying your writing.

We seem to following the same path (and struggling with a few of the same challenges), but most importantly, your writing always makes me laugh...and who doesn't love a good laugh?

Thanks for the ongoing "green" dialogues!

Green Bean said...

I'm with you. It's really important to repair or make do instead of just hitting Target for something new. I spent the morning trying to clean mountains of dried glue out my kid's Fisher Price combo microphone/tape player. It's both plastic and electronic. Even worse is that I couldn't save it and, with both features broken, there's really no use for it anywhere by anyone. I guess I'll have to throw it out seeing all the circuit boards and wires inside, I'd swear it qualifies as "e-waste" or at least it should.

Anonymous said...

Funny, we wrote almost the same post today! I wonder if the old me met the old you if they would have liked each other or not.



Burbanmom said...

yeah, I saw you did a "fix" post and I did a "make do" post the same day! Sadly, I'm sure about a gazillion bloggers did a "go buy" post today to counter-balance us. Oh well, you do what you can!

And yes, Beth, if "new me" and "new you" are any indication, I'm sure the "old us-es" would have gotten along just fine!

Your door stopper will be on its way today! I just need to find some bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts and a whole lot of packing tape. (Wouldn't want it to get damaged, you know) ;-)

Gruppie Girl said...

You really got me thinking.

I have tried to ban plastic toys and food storage containers, but there is so much more plastic hiding in the house.

Maybe you could post on FreeCycle for a wicker laundry basket and be done with your cheap plastic basket?

Leslie said...

"...back in the olden days...replacing it wasn't always an option, much less the first choice."
That said volumes. We assume replacement as our first choice.

Aside from me getting a darned good laugh out of the title and subtitle, cheap plastic shit-ade, you again made me reflect.

In the olden days, people generally were capable of certain life sustaining crafts, like, say...basketweaving. A new handle on a basket they had made themselves would be easy.
I am sure that someone out there has a granny that used to work on the plastic extruding machine at Rubbermaid, and could tell you exactly how to make a new plastic basket, but it doesn't stike me as common sort of homespun craft.

Anonymous said...

i came across your blog while searching for some place that i could send my own mutilated plastic laundry baskets for recycling! (i have two that barely even hold laundry anymore because their sides droop outward.) i bought two new wicker laundry baskets, and two wicker waste baskets, from they're very nice and not too expensive. (btw, i'm not associated in any way with this business - you can find lots of wicker basket sources on the web; i just happened to like this one.)

Wasteweardaily said...

Thanks for linking to my blog about being fashionable wearing cast off clothing.
I wanted to comment here because I have had the same thing happen with laundry baskets, just not in the same way. I tried to get creative fixing them. In your case, I would try to finda dowel or sturdy stick the length of the basket and wedge it up under the rim. Tie, tape or somehow affix it in place. If like someone else mentioned, the rim cracks and it is a narrow rim, use an old dried out Bic pen and wedge it under the rim attatching it somehow. Duct tape works well. Hope it works for you,
Cindy in FL