Leave no trace these words can be heard from any outdoors forum
But what of our own carbon footprints.
What do you do when one of your pieces of gear breaks. You probably looked to see if it could be fixed or to find the parts for it but sometimes its so old that parts are no longer available. So do you throw it away?
Collectively, out of the 254 million tons of trash Americans can produce in one year, we recycle about 34.3 percent of it. For our average individual, 710.6 pounds are recycled and 1,361.4 pounds of trash are tossed out every year — about the weight of a grizzly bear.
I will give you a real life example of my own. I had a portable gas BBQ grill that burners rusted thru and the company went out of business so no parts were available. I gutted the inside to remove BBQ gas components and repurposed it in to a wood burning firepit with grill.
Several years went by and the former BBQ housing rusted thru so I was able to repurpose the grill portion and used it on my camping trips to cook food over fire pits. That is a total of 10 years later before the last part of the BBQ grill was tossed out. Just imagine how much we could reduce our yearly weight in garbage if we can repurpose any portion of our gear.
Someone had a 200 quart cooler that hinges broke off so he dug a huge hole in his back yard and buried the cooler just with less then an inch of the top showing and transformed it into a fish pond, putting some rocks around it and even adding a water pump to create a water fountain
I have seen those old wooden Box Tvs converted into fish tanks.
When i have more then one of the same gear piece and it breaks I will literally dismantle the gear and salvage all useable spare parts for my remaining gear. The last time i did this was for my Coleman single mantle propane lantern 3 days ago. The lantern was still under warranty but no longer in production so i was offered
- Coleman Northern Nova Propane Lantern
but since i still had another single burner lantern i stripped the broken one for the spare parts saving approximately 1/2 the weight of what i ended up throwing out.
My friend had an outdoor chair which straps eventually tore. he was about to throw it out when i said why not just use all that paracord you have in your garage and use that instead of the straps. Not only did it look great when it was done but it was able to hold more weight then before.
The largest piece i salvaged from being thrown out is a neighbors Ducane stainless steel BBQ grill. He spent over $1500 on this grill but after 5 years it just wouldn't work. I was driving home and saw him pushing the BBQ grill out to the curb so i stopped and asked him if he minded if i took it. He said sure by all means as he just bought a replacement that was arriving the next day.
(just wanted to say that this should not be done unless you are a hands on person that knows how to work with your hands and work with gases. Never attempt this for the 1st time on your own as gases are not something you want to screw around with if you dont know what you are doing)
Although Ducane went out of business prior to that their grills had a lifetime warranty and the home depot near me once sold that unit. It was obvious that the burners were rusted thru and needed to be replaced , starter too, but that wasn't why he was junking the grill. What he couldn't figure out was that the diaphragm in the hose regulator was defective which is why barely any gas would work with a newly filled propane tank. For an hours work of cleaning and removing components that were rusted thru and a trip to home depot to get the parts i needed for free under its original warranty i was able to get this beautiful grill working just like the day it was 1st used.
Isn't she a beauty...
It weighs about 181 lbs of which i had to throw out 3 lbs of rusted internal parts from it so that is 178 lbs that never got dumped at the Fingers lake region land fill in NY.
I am posting in the gear selection part of the forum as it is a really high probability that if you are asking for some gear advice that it may be due to your other gear piece failing. And if so, i am hoping that after reading this post that you may step back and take another look at whatever you are replacing to see if there is anything that is salvageable form it.
The chain and carabiner from my old propane lantern is now being used to hold up a different lantern i own that didn't have a chain on it . The glass bulb dome and top cover i am temporarily ( until my other lanterns bulb dome breaks) using it as a windbreaker for a tea candle diy lamp
I would love to hear from other outdoors enthusiasts of how they repurposed damaged gear to be useful again.
Oh and if you are ever in Queens NY your welcome to join me for a BBQ :)