Do We Throw This Away Or Fix It?
Adapted from A-Way With Waste: A Waste Management Curriculum for Schools, 2nd ed.
by State of Washington, Dept of Ecology
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SUBJECT AREAS: industrial arts, horticulture, Vo-Tec
CONCEPT: Durable repairable items are better then disposables.
OBJECTIVE: Students will learn simple repair techniques in order to extend the life of useful equipment and reduce the use of natural resources, the loss of energy, and the cost of landfilling.
broken tool
repair equipment:
KEYWORDS: durable, rivet, peen, planned obsolescence
BACKGROUND: Today's world is a fast paced throw-away society. Industry provides us with disposables rather than durable goods. We throw things away rather than fixing them or giving them to a needy family. Discuss choices that students can make when buying things. Better quality items are more economical in the long term because they last (i.e., appliances, good tools, clothes, radios, stereos).
1. Collect broken tools.
a. Ask students to donate broken tools from home or from friends.
b. Put an ad in the local paper stating that you are collecting old tools for educational purposes. (Beware, you may be flooded with tools. It may be helpful to be specific about what types of tools you want.)
c. Look through junk stores and garage sales for fixable items.
2. Assess the damage to the tool or appliance to see if it is affordable to fix it.
3. Buy or make handles for tools you have received with broken handles.

4. For more extensive repairs, the use of the school shop equipment may be needed. Most repairs can be made using pliers, hammer, drill, files, and a saw.
Example of tool repair: Shovel with broken handle.
Buy a new handle, making sure a rivet is included. Burn out the remainder of the handle and drill out the rivet that holds it. Line up the new handle and shove it as far as you can into the hole of the blade. Then, place the handle on a wood block and drive the blade down with another woodblock until you get a tight fit. Drill through the rivet hole and insert the rivet and peen the end down.
List some of the tools that are thrown away that could be repaired.
What is "planned obsolescence"? How is the concept related to waste?
Collect old bikes or lawn mowers and old parts to see how many working items you have in the end. Then sell them, use them, or provide them to needy children.
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