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Our throw-away society

April 18, 2008 - Kevin Sweeney
Sitting in the line at Brown County Recycling’s Free Electronics recycling roundup on Thursday, I had a lot of time to think.

I thought a little bit about how I should have stopped for gas before I stopped at the Family Rec Center parking lot. I was afraid my tank might run dry before I got to the unloading area.

But I also thought about the mounds of television sets, computers and computer monitors that were being disposed of. I thought about the three TV sets I had in my car. One we had purchased maybe 10 years earlier, two we had inherited from my in-laws. I remembered how we sat in awe before the new set, marveling at the clarity of its picture. A couple of years ago the picture started wavering and wobbling, and without bothering to figure out what was wrong with it, we got a new one.

When I was a kid, you fixed TV sets. If it started acting up, my dad would pull the small tubes out of it and trot down to the drug store, where there was a tube tester. When he found the bad one, he’d buy a replacement and we’d be back in business, just in time for Uncle Milty and Sid Caesar. If Dad couldn’t figure it out, we’d call the TV Repairman, who would come into your home and actually fix it.

Today, no one repairs TVs. They tell you it’s cheaper to buy a new one than to fix the old one. So that’s what we do, and we stick the old one on a shelf in the basement until we can figure out what to do with it.

Thank goodness the free recycling event came along. Without that I don’t know if I would have been able to throw out a TV that was only partially broken.

 
 

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