Jon Gorey makes some excellent points, and ultimately makes a good old-fashioned choice, in his article “The fix is out: More Americans replace rather than repair — even big-ticket items” (Address, July 9). He does touch briefly on the high environmental costs of producing and disposing of consumer products. Another factor in decisions to toss out and replace large items should be the increasing financial cost to dispose of many of them.
As a solid-waste professional who works for 15 towns, I frequently hear of shock and indignation when residents learn that they actually have to pay to trash their old couch or television. News flash: Proper disposal isn’t free.
Old cathode ray tube TVs and monitors are a prime example of the chickens coming home to roost. It’s not OK to throw them in the landfill or burn them. Collecting them, and bringing them to a facility that takes them apart and safely manages the leaded glass, has become expensive. Even hauling an old couch and stuffing it in a lined landfill is a costly proposition.
If the cost of proper disposal were included in new products’ price tags — a concept called extended producer responsibility — then repair might look a little more attractive.