Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Part I: "It's none of my business, but why don’t you just buy a new one?
Written by Osama, Tobi and Marven
It's none of my business, but why don’t you just buy a new one? That was the question of a really concerned woman who approached me while I was modifying my latest upcycling project in front of my house. The aim of this blog is to help people like her to understand that an upcycled product might look less fancy but it could boost something bigger than style or functionality.
Because I like to ride my bike without a bag on my back, especially in the hot summer days, I decided that I needed a bicycle basket. So far so good.
What follows when I decide that I need a new product in my life is taking my smartphone, and often scrolling through pages of online shops, product references and Youtube unboxing videos for hours. After I spend this much effort comparing and evaluating all these products and offers, I am exhausted, annoyed and just want to order a cheap product that can be delivered by tomorrow. Of course, without shipping costs. In the end it feels like I am ordering some just to avoid the feeling that all the time I spent on online research was a waste. Just before I complete my shopping order the website suggestions of “You might also be interested in…” works well to place the thought in my mind that there is a whole bunch of things that I really need to have in my life as well. Meanwhile the sun is gone, dinner with friends cancelled and the whole online shopping hassle process starts all over again.
I wish I couldn’t identify with this demonstration of tiring behaviour. But I need to confess that it makes me happy when I come home and the delivery man left something in the mailbox, at the flat of my neighbours or even just a letter in my mailbox that I could pick up my parcel at the post office.
When you talk to people from the advertising industry, they will tell you that advertisement is based on one thing. All these advertisements are made to sell you a feeling of a better life, feeling of happiness. It is the smell of the new car or the look of your brand-new shoes that can be declared as happiness. Maybe they are correct, but how sustainable is this happiness. Sooner or later there will be the day that these products are worn out, broken or not stylish anymore. The happiness is gone and what is left? We even end up buying products that we don’t actually need but we only think it will make us happier.
We in our tandem believe that there is a higher state than happiness. We believe that satisfaction is an endless and sustainable source of happiness.
We think that we should question ourselves before we buy something:
> Do I really need it?
Usually if it is not an urgent need we try to wait for some time before getting it. During this time, we try to find other ways than buying a new product. There are lots of items left in the streets for others to reuse. Can I make it myself from items I have or items that might end up in the trash if not used in another way and save resources?
> Would this product make me happier?
Is it a genuine feeling of happiness, or would it rather fade away a few days after, when the excitement of having this new product fade?
> Can I reach the same or a higher stage of satisfaction without buying something new?
> How often will I use it?
> Another question we usually ask ourselves, will I use it a couple of times and then get tired of it, or would I be able to use it more often?
These questions were our motivation to come up with the sustainability challenges for our tandem within the seminar Wellenschlagen. We agreed that we would ask ourselves these questions, meet up and find alternatives before we buy new furniture or other products.
After the first meeting we came up with a list of needs we had.
A Sofa/bed for Osama
Bicycle basket, Kite- and Longboard shelf for Tobi
Hanging Garden and a beer crates stool for Marvin