There is a lot of “stuff” circulating around the valley. Stuff goes home from garage sales. Stuff is hauled to the Senior Center Thrift Store. Stuff goes to Methow Recycles. Worst of all, stuff goes to the landfill. The good news is that many Methow residents are right-sizing (a new variation of down-sizing), donating, minimizing and slowing down on consumerism, i.e., shopping less. What often follows is that a new recipient is indeed reusing many of the items that are still usable. That’s the ultimate result of following the “Five Rs” of sustainability: Refuse (such things as a drinking straw, plastic bag, etc.), Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. You could throw Repair and Re-gift in there for good measure.
The recent Methow Recycles newsletter addressed the issue of “fast furniture.” Just like clothing, home goods, toys and other items that began to be mass-produced, furniture became another cheaply manufactured item. Often made from non-durable materials, the furniture tends to break down quickly and is most often not worth the cost of repairing.
The forlorn furniture is difficult to dispose of. We have all seen the overstuffed chair, a couch with a little life left, and other pieces of worn out furniture sitting on the road or street with a “free” sign or listed online to give away. Fortunately, many of these pieces are picked up and given another chance at life.
According to research done by Methow Recycles, “Discarded furniture is the second-largest contributor to urban waste.” Most dilapidated furniture, therefore, ends up in the landfill. Miles and miles of the worthless stuff piles up cluttering the earth with rubbish.
The first time I heard the phrase “planned obsolescence,” I thought, “What?” At the time, my mother-in-law, who had many goofy ideas, albeit some viable, was referring to the lint that comes out of the dryer. She said, “See that. That’s your clothes wearing thin so that you will have to buy new — planned obsolescence.” I still think of that every time I peel a handful of my “clothes” out of the lint filter.
Probably the most obvious planned obsolescence that has become a continual annoyance is the pace with which computers, cell phones, TVs and other devices are outdated. A brand spanking new device is probably already three generations (or more) old. It was not that long ago that consumers were warned that their big, fat, hard-to-carry televisions would be replaced by a television with a thin screen and would also be “smart” — smarter than you, even.
What to do in this fast-paced world we live in? We can practice the above-mentioned Rs in all aspects of our daily living and do our part in keeping our valley “green.” We are lucky to have so many resources available and people dedicated to educating and servicing the means to do so.
Follow-up to World Famous Pancake Breakfast activities: Dave Ford wrote that the pickleball instruction that he and his wife Nancy taught was successful. Sixteen players showed up for the first hour; the average age was 9! The second session had 12 participants — all adults from age 20 to 80. The third session consisted of games played with both new and experienced players rotating in to play in groups of four. Dave says with authority, “No. 1 growth sport in the U.S.!”
Follow-up to Mazama Public House: “Seattle Met” magazine (summer 2022 issue) featured Mazama (correctly noting that the pronunciation rhymes with gamma, not llama) in an article titled “The Tiny Mountain Town of Mazama Gets a Little Bigger.”
“By almost every measure, Mazama hardly counts as a town,” Allison Williams writes. “But this summer brings an addition that tips the scales of Mazama’s identity from roadside stop to honest-to-goodness town: the Mazama Public House.” The pub is getting attention and becoming a reality — even on the Mazama Store courtyard directional sign!