I found a building company that was throwing out some perfectly good steel studs. The studs were just sitting behind a building so I asked if I could take them.
They were like, “Why?”
I was like, “Uh, to reuse them.”
The were like, “But they are used.”
“So? Are they damaged?”
“No but they are trash.”
And so on. Nice guys but they didn’t get what I was doing. They humored me a let me take them. There are so many good reasons to re-use good material but if you aren’t thinking in those terms it is a completely alien concept. If you don’t think about it you can even come up with a lot of good reasons not to reuse material. But with a little thought all the reasons come up short.
The best reason I like to poke holes in is the concept that reusing materials takes away jobs. Think about it. If everyone recycled all the millions of tonnes of good material that gets trashed each year that would be millions of tonnes that wouldn’t have to made next year. That would put people out of work.
And in a society where work is the main goal of living, to do something that puts people out of work is akin to being unpatriotic. Its all about “job stimulus”, increasing spending to revitalize the economy, keeping unemployment low, creating a brisk economy etc….
BUT! What about creating an economy where you needed less to live on, where you needed to work less for the same amount of buying power. Less work would mean more time watching the clouds with your children…
Here is how from my limited knowledge of macroeconomics:
If society reuses materials we spend less on new materials. This means more money in the consumers’ pockets. But, they say, if everyone does this then less will need to be produced which means less jobs (currently interpreted as bad). But, I say, the consumer does not need to work as much anymore anyway because now that they are reusing materials they aren’t spending as much.
Reusing materials creates a slower economy. Not slow in today’s definition, but slow in the pre-industrial definition where we produced and wasted less. The life cycle of a product lasted longer. In a slower economy the consumer gains because they still get stuff but just don’t have to work as hard to get it.
Who loses in a slower economy? The people who benefit from extreme consumption and waste: the Walmarts of the world, The McDonalds, inefficient car makers, weapons makers, legal drug makers, mass entertainment. All the companies whose business model is based on people consuming their product feverishly for the sake of consumption only.
These are people who buy a certain car for a million idiotic reasons, none the reasons being to fulfill the need to move from place A to place B efficiently.
Anyway. Here are the studs I got. The reasons for getting them are many but here are some:
I needed studs for my 22 2nd Street house.
They were free (saving me about $75).
They are spared from taking up landfill space.
Less pollution due to less production.
I can work $75 less in my life.