Jennifer Chait

How to Prolong the Lifespan of 6 Items You Care About

by , 06/01/14


make your phone last, save cell phone battery, smartphone battery, make produce last, make jeans last, make clothing last, make cosmetics last, disposable culture, reduce reuse recycle, reduce waste, reduce landfill trash, make it last, own less stuff

Image via Shutterstock

Jeans

Dirt rarely shows its face on denim until it’s really dirty, so unless you’re wearing jeans to trek through mud or you always go commando, don’t wash them after every wear. When you do wash them, experts at Levi say to turn jeans inside out before tossing them into the washing machine. The reason? Dye that leaches out of the legs while washing will stay put in the leg area and be reabsorbed during the washing process. Wash in cold water and use eco-friendly laundry detergents, plus avoid bleach. In most cases, you should run full loads of laundry to cut back on energy and water waste, but some denim experts note that you should wash jeans in smaller loads, but still with a washer full of water to avoid abrasion with other items. Hang dry most of your clothing to make it last, including jeans, but if you do machine dry, use low (or no) heat. Remember that denim can fade quickly when exposed to UV rays, so it’s best to hang dry jeans inside or in the shade. See a few more tips below:

  • For very dark denim, preserve the color longer by hand-washing them inside-out in a tubful of cool water. Soak with a mild eco-detergent, then line dry.
  • Once your jeans appear to be developing possible rip points, apply iron-on patches inside the stress points.
  • Levi notes that you shouldn’t have specialty denim professionally dry-cleaned, as it can damage fragile details like embroidery, and wear away waxy finishes.

make your phone last, save cell phone battery, smartphone battery, make produce last, make jeans last, make clothing last, make cosmetics last, disposable culture, reduce reuse recycle, reduce waste, reduce landfill trash, make it last, own less stuff

Image via Shutterstock

Automobile

When it comes to cars, one of the best ways to go green is to buy an eco-friendly vehicle. Expanding the life expectancy of your car so it lasts as long as it should, however, is also an eco-friendly move. Not a mechanic? Not even a car person? No worries—you can prolong the life of your car with some simple habits that require very little technical know-how.

Be responsible: Don’t text and drive. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t speed. Distractions, alcohol, and speeding are the most common causes of accidents. Only your behavior, rather than preventative care, will prolong your car’s life (and maybe yours) in cases like these.

Be chill: If your driving style is crazed, your car pays the price. Accelerating quickly, fast shifting, breaking abruptly, making aggressive turns, driving fast over speed bumps and potholes, and other like-minded driving habits cause much more damage over time than easy-going driving habits.

Read your owners manual: Car manuals aren’t fun to read, but they do let you know when basic maintenance is required. Regular oil changes, tire rotations, and other basic maintenance tasks not only extend the life of your car but help spot small problems before they become huge issues that may damage your car for good.  On that note, don’t ignore warning lights either—they’re there for a reason.

Avoid cold starts: When an engine sits for more than five hours, especially in cold weather, there’s going to be little or no oil left on the moving parts. Give your car at least 30 seconds before you drive off and if you haven’t driven in a while (more than 24 hours), allow your engine to run a bit longer.

Turn the music off: If you’re a regular human (or me) you drive with music on 24/7 and keep it fairly loud. Experts recommend turning your music off every once in a while, simply so you can hear any strange noises your car may be making. Apparently, big problems often start off as odd little noises, but you won’t hear them if you never listen.

Check tire pressure regularly:  Inaccurate tire pressure may cause uneven tire wear or a tire blow-out, and wastes more gas to boot. Purchase a simple tire air pressure gauge at an auto parts store and check your tire pressure weekly, as recommended by DMV.org. If that schedule is too stringent, at least check tire pressure monthly.

Protect aesthetics: Parking in the garage or shade helps protect your car’s paint job, as does regular exterior washing. Waxing, vacuuming and other car cleaning care, plus removing small dents, also helps your car look its best, which may seem like a small thing until you consider potential resale value. The more appealing your car is, the more likely it is that someone else may want to buy it when you’re done with it, thus keeping it in commission and out of the landfill longer.

Recycle: According to Car Donation Wizard, up to 75% of a car’s content can be recycled, which means less waste in the landfills. If your car is truly dead, don’t dump it but find a responsible recycling company that will turn materials from your car into new items, such as new cars, car parts, canned goods, structural beams, furnaces, bridges, and more.

make your phone last, save cell phone battery, smartphone battery, make produce last, make jeans last, make clothing last, make cosmetics last, disposable culture, reduce reuse recycle, reduce waste, reduce landfill trash, make it last, own less stuff

Image via Shutterstock

Cosmetics

The best cosmetics to buy are made with natural, non-chemical or organic ingredients, and cruelty-free methods, but this translates into a much higher price tag. Additionally, it’s tough to properly dispose of unused cosmetics. That said, your best bet is to make your makeup collection last as long as possible, or at least ensure your products make it to their true expiration date.
  • Keep all cosmetics out of areas filled with sunlight, moisture and heat.
  • Before you toss broken cosmetics, try to fix them. For example, broken eye shadow can be fixed with a few drops of rubbing alcohol.
  • Pick products that naturally last longer, such as powders over creams, solid liners over liquid, and water-based over oil-based.
  • Don’t expose mascara to too much air, such as when you overly pump the wand in and out of the tube.
  • Reconstitute dried out nail polish with nail polish thinner—NOT nail polish remover.

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