Thanks to social media and the ease of online shopping, there are always new electrical products and small appliances that we feel like we totally need to buy and try out for ourselves. Even if these products are budget-friendly, they might not be the most eco-friendly choice. Since we’re all looking for more ways to live sustainably in 2022, we’ve rounded up our top tips to consider when buying small appliances. Keep these questions in mind before adding something new to your cart.
Do I Need This Product?
You’ve likely heard of the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. But there’s a new R: to refuse – any unnecessary purchases, which is a no-fail way to reduce your carbon footprint. Alternatively, you can also commit to only buying products from eco-friendly manufacturers. Similarly, look for products from manufacturers that prioritize sustainability initiatives, such as repair and recycling programs. Always remember: refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, and then recycle. Every step counts!
Can I Borrow This Second Hand?
Sometimes it’s not about buying at all. Depending on the purpose of the tool or appliance you’re buying, it may not be something that you use every day. If this is the case, consider borrowing a sibling’s, communally purchasing a power tool with your next-door neighbour, or purchasing second hand. Everyone loves a good garage-sale find, and if you only need that power tool a few times a year, it’s a great excuse to drop by at a friend’s. The fewer new products that we need to make, the better. Find more product swaps to create a less wasteful home.
Does the Manufacturer Sell Extra Parts?
It’s a fact of life that things will break. Whether some renegade dough jams your stand mixer, the coffee maker starts leaking, or your power saw isn’t feeling so powerful, sometimes you just get unlucky. Before purchasing anything, it’s helpful to research whether the manufacturer offers replacement parts for purchase. Replacement parts can significantly extend your purchase life, keeping you from having to shop for something new.
Is This Appliance Durable?
As reassuring as knowing that you can fix something, it’s always preferable that something won’t break in the first place. Be sure to research the supplier and manufacturer’s reputation to ensure any breakdowns would be few and far between. Often these are the more expensive brands, but that investment will pay off over time, saving you both cost and time on repairs.
Can I Give This Product Another Life?
Often, we forget to consider our purchases beyond ourselves. When an item no longer suits its original purpose, we focus on its replacement primarily. If possible, before tossing your old and outdated appliances, consider giving them a new life. For example, you can cut the cord on a broken kettle and make it a handy watering can for gardening. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Is This Appliance Easy to Resell or Regift?
We’ve all had a purchase that we were in love with, but over time it lost its lustre. Sometimes things go back in the box and stay there. Rather than letting them collect dust, it’s easy to give a product new life by reselling them online. When purchasing small appliances and power tools, consider how easily they would be to re-sell or re-gift. Sometimes buying a top-of-the-line product from a reputable brand can improve resale value and help you earn extra cash in the long run.
How Can I Properly Recycle This Product?
Recycling has always been at the core of sustainable living. With appliances, it can be less clear as to the best place for them. Look into your province’s recycling initiatives when it’s time to recycle old electrical products and small appliances. Some provinces have adopted extended producer responsibility programs, which offer many recycling locations where it’s free to drop off products at the end of their life. For example, British Columbia’s ElectroRecycle program offers more than 250 drop-off locations across the province for your small appliances and power tools. Check out ElectroRecycle’s website for a list of accepted products.
Can I Easily Repair This Appliance Myself?
You’ve chosen an appliance and brand that supplies replacement parts should it break down. In that unfortunate situation, is it something you can fix yourself? Consider getting well acquainted with these purchases and learning how to fix and replace the small issues yourself. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and attachment to your items, save you money on repair bills, and greatly extend their life and functionality. So, crack open that user’s manual and roll up those sleeves. You’ve got tinkering to do.
Can I Get This Appliance Fixed if it Stops Working?
Admittedly, repairing your items may not always be within the scope of your abilities, there’s no shame in it. In fact, there’s opportunity. When your electrical products, appliances, and power tools go haywire, consider taking them to repair shops which are often small locally owned businesses. The individuals in these shops are often helpful and incredibly knowledgeable in their field and will guide you towards making the best decisions for any future purchases. Visiting something like a Repair Cafe, where knowledgeable volunteers advise and help fix broken household items, is a responsible way to keep your purchases alive and well.
How Can I Properly Maintain This Appliance?
Having learned all that you can about responsible electrical product buying practices, it should be time to use and enjoy these items. However, between these uses, it is critical to both store and maintains them in a way that will protect and prolong them. Be sure to read your user’s manuals to learn how best to care for your items, and in turn, they will perform at their peak performance. After all, you want your pressure cooker to produce only the best.
Purchasing and owning appliances and electrical products with a conscientious mindset is key to preventing waste, reducing one’s carbon footprint, and preserving the environment. It is companies like Electrorecycle that make it easier to educate ourselves and act in the best interest of the planet. Find the nearest Electrorecycle location near you.