Reuse is something we have done throughout our whole travels. Not only because we are traveling on a small budget, but using things for a longer period is a great way to save natural resources. Gradually we became more and more creative and less picky when it comes down to things we have found. Our equipment has slowly turned into a patchwork of creative solutions, the following is just a small example of what can be done with just a few tweaks.
There are a few things I will never understand. Western Australia has some of the most stunning beaches I have ever seen and still some people have no shame to leave their waste behind. Most places are situated in a remote area and people are kindly asked to take what they brought. Unfortunately this already seems to be to much to ask for.
We formed a habit of taking what other people left behind. We believe waste will attract more waste. Once a place looks filthy and dirty a lot more people will be tempted to leave their stuff behind. A clean beach or natural site however is a great barrier on most people's conscience.
In the majority of the cases even the worst rubbish has something to offer. It might just be a small part or only a few screws but we are just to lazy to take benefit of it. In western civilizations disposing and buying new has become the habit of our time.
The left armrest of my camping chair broke a few months ago. It had been a little annoying but nothing that would ask for a replacement. When we found this partly burned chair on the beach I could not only reuse the armrest but upgrade my chair with a cooling compartment.
Shortly after we bought our car we became aware of the need for an outside bin. Mainly intended to take our own rubbish to the next recycling point, this little modification soon turned into a general collection unit. Without the need of carrying the waste inside our home, we now felt a lot easier about picking up other people leftovers.
The bin itself is made up of two old Coles baskets we found in an abandoned car in Kununurra. I cut off the handles and put one upside down on the other one. I then fixed them with cable straps and cut a hole in the top basket's bottom. Here we go, a breathable waste box fully made of waste itself.
I have a great collection of screws I took of all kinds of things and this has help us many times to fix different stuff already. Unfortunately this chair was hold together by pop rivet so beside the armrest there was not much we could make use of.
A rubber strap on the baskets helps to carry larger items and prevents the waste inside from flying out on the highway. We found this and many more straps on the side of the road. In a country where almost every second car has a roof rack the highway turns into a find wonderland.
I love my new chair. I love fixing stuff and I love creative solutions. It feels good to extend an object's life and make more use of it. Throughout our journey I have slowly lost my desire for consumption and found more joy in creating long lasting companions with my own hands.
Waste we pick up on the road often travels with us for a long time. Western Australia is big and understandable there can't be rubbish bins everywhere.
One thing that still seems strange to us is the non-existence of an effective recycling cycle in most parts of Australia. This surely is due to the size and the great distances in-between places but we hope for a change in the future.
Beside the struggle of a national recycling solution there are things everyone can change by himself. Take what you bring, leave nothing behind. Use things until they fall apart and consider a repair before you think about a replacement. You will see that you will not only find join in fixing stuff, but grow a greater relation to the products surrounding you once you have start to give them a soul.