So, I’ve got this cordless phone. It’s not fancy, but it does what it needs to do – it, you know, dials and rings and all that stuff.
However, the battery pack in it? It died. Nickel Metal Hydride is pretty yukky stuff, and it only lasts a few years; charge it up and down too many times and it justs gets old, and tired, and won’t hold a charge anymore. So, being an environmentally good consumer, I figured if the battery was dead, all I need to do is just replace the battery, say, with one of these. No need to buy another phone, which requires more petrochemicals to produce and energy to make, right? Why throw out my old one (which is working fine – no sense adding a working item to a landfill) when I can just swap the part?
See, that SOUNDS sensible. But the BATTERY ALONE? it’s thirty bucks. A new PHONE? THE SAME FUCKING PHONE? it’s TWENTY. Actually, it’s on sale RIGHT NOW FOR NINE DOLLARS AND NINETY FIVE CENTS.
What the FUCK! How the hell does THAT work? One stupid component of the phone costs more than the whole thing? Like, it’s cheaper to have some Malaysian kid build me another one, stuff it in a box, ALONG WITH THE SINGLE PART I NEED, throw in on a tanker, steam it over to North America than it is to buy a SINGLE FUCKING BATTERY? How the hell are we supposed to make sensible environmentally friendly decisions when this whacky math somehow makes sense? A single pencil is two bucks, but a dozen pencils wrappd in plastic are fifty cents? What bizzaro economic system makes this shit possible?
I ended up buying the BATTERY, so the phone is working again (so feel free to call). Still, it chaps my hide to think this is the order of the day. Mister and Mrs. Mom & Pop Suburban Dumbass, when faced with a similar dilemna, wouldn’t think twice, they’d just junk the old one and zooble down to Wal-Mart in the Suburban to pick up a new one. Dumb.
Man, I’m no left leaning crazy nutball hippie type but I do try to be environmentally sensible; I’ve got a 500 square foot apartment with no room, but I somehow manage to fit in seperate recycling tubs for paper, cans and bottles, cardboard and newspaper. I haven’t really owned a car for several years (though I do have one that doesn’t run) because I live in a city, and don’t really need it. When I do need a car, I use a car co-operative, which means less cars on the road and crap in the air.
Shit, I even have a little box full of dead batteries in a kitchen drawer that I hang on to and bring with me when I go to Ikea once every year or so, since they have a big tub you can throw your dead batteries in where they will be properly disposed of (so the crap in the batteries doesn’t, you know, end up the water table, and somehow get in my vodka or anything).
I like to think I’m an environmentally friendly guy, I just don’t scream and yell about it and dance around in my Birkenstocks chanting over and over again about how we’re fucking over the world (which we of course are – duh, everybody already knows that, thanks for the update). I do, however, try to do what I can, when I can, to help out with the problem.
So hey, when you find yourself needing a single part of a thingie-ma-bob made in a big-ass factory in Asia staffed by attentive ten year olds, do us all a favor, spend a couple bucks more, and just buy the bit you need. If we all did that, the bits would be way, WAY cheaper. They’re expensive now because nobody cares – they obviously don’t sell very many. What’s say we change that, huh? You don’t need to wave a recycled green flag while you do it, or sing KumBaya on the way to the store, or even bake a tofu cassorole once you get home to your recycled tire house. Just do the odd thing here and there to help out.
If we all did that… well, we’d probably have more polar ice for a start. And more polar ice means more of this, and that’s GREAT news.