General ramblings

Hitting the headlines…

August 8, 2013

Hurrah!
Make Do and Mend is hitting the headlines.
Sadly not the blog, (we have already had our day in the Sun though..!) but Make Do and Mend itself.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, the Telegraph led, on it’s front page, with the news that environment minister, Lord de Mauley has urged households to Make Do and Mend in a national effort to cut waste.

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 19.14.07I think this is just AWESOME!
And is obviously a direct result of my letter to Mr Cameron himself, which he forwarded to the Defra, where Lord de Mauley works as waste minister…!!

The article makes some really great points, and is basically a precis of my blog over the last year-who knew that they were reading..?!

  • “Families should reconsider their buying habits and resist the temptation to spend more money on the latest electronic gadgets, clothes and food that they will not eat”
  • “Consumers will be advised to sell their unwanted possessions on eBay and other auction websites instead of throwing re-usable items away”
  • This will help individuals and businesses to “save money while protecting the environment by reducing millions of tonnes of waste that is buried in landfill every year”
  • “Companies making and selling electronic and electrical equipment will face demands from government agencies to make products which last for longer and are easier to repair”
  • “According to officials, British businesses could save £17 billion from their annual budgets by reducing waste, while re-using household appliances and furniture could save families £1 billion a year as well as create work for repair shops”

The article did then inevitably go on to point out some potentially negative effects or concerns about Make Do and Mend, and I thought that I could try and address them here to show everyone how we really can change the world with Make Do and Mend!

  • “There are also concerns that Britain’s “throwaway culture” means that most electrical repair shops have closed and that customers will not know where to take their broken appliances to be fixed”
    That’s were community projects like Repair Cafes come in! If every town and city had one, then the necessary skills could be disseminated and passed on
  • “There are concerns that customers are not confident about buying second-hand goods or repairing appliances and electrical goods that have broken”
    I think there is no reason not to have confidence in buying second-hand goods like clothes, but I can understand why people might be wary about electrical items. There are now charity shops that run purely just for electrical items and furniture-we have a British HeartFoundation Shop in Trowbridge that does just this. I have no idea if they are, but it would be great if all the electrical items were tested to be working and then PAT tested to ensure they were safe. I don’t know if they do any repairs-it would be great if they did, and could provide employment and work for a local electrician/repair man
  • “Douglas Carswell, a Conservative MP, attacked the plans. “Since when do we need government to tell us what to do with broken toasters? I don’t really want to live in a world where Defra officials can decide what I do with electrical appliances that I could repair. Having reduced millions of Europeans to a life of penury and having ruined our prospects of economic growth, the Eurocrats now seem to be giving us advice on how to make do and mend. The sooner we leave the European Union the better”
    I think this gentleman’s issues are with the EU, rather than the concept of Make Do and Mend….
  • “The plan follows controversy over remarks from another Defra minister, Richard Benyon who warned earlier this year that families were needlessly wasting “enormous amounts of food””
    It is a well-recongnised fact that of all the food we buy, one third of it gets thrown away. The fact that a wealthy landowner has raised the point, is neither here nor there. It is a fact, and we all need to learn to respect our food and make sure none goes to waste

I have also seen criticism of Lord de Mauley himself online, with comments along the lines of “I bet he doesn’t Make Do and Mend”, presumably because he has a title, and people are assuming that he would therefore not need to Make Do and Mend.
Well, do you know what? Maybe he does. We have no idea, unless we speak to him ourselves. Just because someone has money, doesn’t exempt them from wanting or needing to Make Do and Mend from an environmental perspective. I never set out on this year with the express intention of saving money. It has been a very welcome side-effect, but I think that it is essential that ALL OF US,-old, young, rich and poor, government, businesses and individuals, embrace Make Do and Mend if we are to stand a chance of saving the planet and it’s resources for our children.

So, in this instance, well done the Tories, well done Defra, and well done Lord de Mauley.
Now the big question is, can you put your money where your mouth is and deliver policies that will follow through on these very admirable aims?
I really really hope so.

PS. BBC Radio Wales interviewed me today on their afternoon show to discuss Make Do and Mend-I am available if anyone else wants any kind of comment 🙂
( I am sure that Jeremy Vine and the Newsnight team are avid readers of the blog)
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14 Comments

  • Reply Glenys August 12, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Maybe that’s how well off people stay well off… they don’t waste money buying new each time!.

    • Reply Jen August 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      You could be right!

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo August 9, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Most electrical goods (and even cars these days) are made as cheaply as possible (cheap labour, cheap materials etc) on the understanding that when they break they will be thrown out and a new replacement bought . Id much rather things were a bit more expensive to buy initially but were build to last.
    As Hilary says people these days expect everything shiney and new from day one, maybe if people had to save up for goods that they knew would last for years, they would appreciate them more and look after them.

    • Reply Jen August 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

      You are so right Jo, and it applies across the board, from electricals to clothes. If clothes were more expensive, but made to last, and the people who made them were paid a real living wage, then people would not treat them as disposable.

  • Reply joelleharris August 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

    That’s great news! Also, I think you will find not only the Royals but lots of apparently well off people, buy the best quality and expect it to last. Patched, mended and upcycled! Prince Charles wore an old barbour jacket, with lots of patches on Countryfile while he was hedge laying. Keep up the good work, more people will join us!

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Come the Revolution!!

  • Reply Jane G August 9, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Although Jeremy Vine is on holiday at the moment, this was discussed on Radio 2 yesterday. I didn’t actually hear the programme, but you should be able to hear it again from the website

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Thanks Jane. I missed it too-was at the zoo being tortured by my badly behaved children…
      Will listen again!

  • Reply Sue August 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Jen, you have had a fantastic make do and mend year, if we all tried a little bit harder like you, and wasn’t so keen to rush out and spend money the world would be better. We all need to think before we shop, I want to leave a world for my grandchildren to enjoy, but we all need to help, it’s not going to fix itself!

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Thanks Sue, and you are so right.

  • Reply Hilary August 8, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Even the Royals make do and mend, Anne is always wearing clothes she’s had for years(decades even) Prince Charles was seen with a patch on his jacket the other week. When asked about her clothes Anne said The Queen had instilled into them to be frugal. When I got married 42 years ago we had very little, a bed,this was new a wedding present, small table, 2 stools 2 cupboards and a fridge and cooker all passed down from family members. When we moved to a house, we inherited my Grans 3 piece, mum and dads dining table and chairs and sideboard. We expected to have to wait/save for things. Many of today couples expect everything from day one. And so the throw away society has evolved. My hubby bought new elements for the toaster last week and mended it, today it was a photo frame. People from my Grans generation would be appalled with our throw away society today. keep up the good work Jen there are people like you (and us) that are doing their bit, lets hope eventually we can become the majority.

    • Reply Jen August 9, 2013 at 7:32 am

      Let’s hope so Hilary. I love Prince Charles-he rocks!

  • Reply Nic August 8, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    BHF must test their electricals as they come with guarantees. I’m interested in repair cafes, as far as I know there aren’t any in Glasgow, but what a fab idea. Here’s hoping the govt. put their money where their mouth is! Sure it was on Radio 2 too bit I missed it.

    • Reply Jen August 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Nic
      That’s good to know about BHF-I had a brief look on their website, but couldn’t see anything.
      Why not set up a Repair Cafe yourself? It’s pretty straightforwards! Let me know if you want more info 🙂

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