Fixit Culture is gaining steam in the U.S.

Chloe Veltman/NPR
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Americans are responsible for throwing out more stuff than any other nation in the world. According to the Public Interest Research Group, people in this country generate more than 12% of the planet’s trash, though we represent only 4% of the global population.

“We keep going at this pace and we’ll reach the heat death of the earth in a few hundred years,” said Adam Savage, the leader and host of Tested, a popular YouTube channel and website aimed at makers, and an outspoken advocate for repairing the things we own rather than trashing them. “So time is of the essence.”

Throwing things away comes with an environmental cost. Manufacturing processes and decomposing products in landfills emit significant levels of climate warming pollution. Some materials, like plastic, never decompose. Savage said it’s time human beings reminded themselves that throwaway culture is a relatively new phenomenon. It started about a hundred years ago with the rise of mass manufacturing.

“We have been repairers and restorers for millennia longer than we’ve been profligate thrower outer of things,” Savage said, as he worked on mending the hulking wood-and-metal-shaping lathe that occupies a corner of the professional tinkerer’s cavernous workshop.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!