Disposable

I am tired of disposing of things that should not be disposable.

Last weekend I threw out our two-year-old blender. The turn-y thing at the bottom started slipping which resulted in smoke coming out of it as we tried to make daiquiris. It was almost a daiquiri disaster, I tell you. Thank goodness we had the hand-held blender to make our strawberry deliciousness. Phew, close call that one.

Then, I had to call an appliance repair company to look at my six-year-old dishwasher because the heating element was staying on after the cycle was finished – even though we never use the heated dry option. This could have caused a true disaster. Donnie from Robotec (highly recommend!) told me that since we don’t use the heated dry option, the most economical way to repair the problem would be to simply disconnect the heating element. Doing so would mean we would have to run the kitchen hot water tap before starting the dishwasher so that the pre-wash water would be warm enough for the detergent to work, but it would save us over $200 by not having to buy a new controller and have it installed. It bothers me that I need to use a work-around to use my dishwasher, but we are going to see how it goes.

A few months ago THIS happened on our stove top:

A minor bump and a chunk of glass pops off. Dang.

For the second time.

The first time it cost us $600 to replace the glass top. That time the crack was all around the heating element, and so if liquid spilled over from a pot and got under the glass, it could be dangerous, we were told. This time we will hold off until the crack gets bigger or until one of us needs to get stitches from the sharp edge. When the time comes, I suspect we will opt for a new stove because there are only so many $600 repairs to be made before it stops being worthwhile.

The most frustrating part of this is that there is clearly a design flaw in this stove. The heavy metal grate needed for the gas elements should not have to be placed directly on a glass top. Most gas stoves have metal tops; unfortunately we just never noticed this when we were shopping.

The kicker is that these were not inexpensive appliances. We thought if we bought good ones we would be able to keep them longer. Silly us.

I talked to Donnie for a while about appliances, and he told me that all of his are around 40 years old. Today, the typical life span of an appliance is around 10 years.  As Donnie said, this means that we will be throwing out four times as many appliances to landfill than we used to, and added to that, the control boards in modern appliances have toxic chemicals in them that can’t easily be separated from the units anymore, and so the whole thing ends up in landfill.

For me, I’m just hoping that my dishwasher and stove make it as far as ten, because I’m not sure they will.

If only my stove could go in my green bin.

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About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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5 Responses to Disposable

  1. Finola, I get sooooo mad at this “planned obsolescence.” Like you I buy what I think (expect) is quality, but it’s a myth. My mother in law has had the same coffee maker for 25 years. She uses it every day. We bought a new one four years ago and have already replaced it once. We seem to live in a throwaway society, and I don’t even know what to do about it.

  2. writewrds says:

    It makes me crazy too — built-in obsolescence. They’re made to fall apart so we’ll have to buy new ones. I think it’s insulting and unethical and infuriating. So bad for the planet. And our wallets…
    (You just wrote about one of my pet peeves…:) I’m done ranting now. Thank you, Finola. : )

  3. twohandsfull says:

    so frustrating. And I would have done just like you, spent more hoping to avoid this kind of situation. You would think the higher end appliances wouldn’t be built to fail. I guess we are wrong. And how on earth do we avoid this, without having to drop our kids university tuition on an Aga or Viking range!

  4. Like the others, this is something that really grates on me too! It truly is unethical and environmentally irresponsible. Grr … (p.s. Finola, thank you so much for leaving a kind comment for Stella on her blog post! It really meant a lot to her to see people respond to her writing :))

  5. Katherine says:

    Finola – happy spring!

    I so agree with you! I spent $$ to repair my dryer because I just couldn’t bear buying a new one – but how many times should we be doing that!? It is so frustrating. I’m totally with you on this rant!

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