When I visited Europe for the first (and so far only) time in 2011, I was blown away with the substantially higher standards that European put to their markets. Even euro-store (dollar store) items were better than what we have in Canada, and don't even get me started on the artisans that run businesses that have been in their family for generations... Just, remarkable.
If we spend a little more time making quality products, yes, they cost a little bit more money. What if something costs roughly double but lasts ten times as long: which is the better value? Since returning from Europe, I have done whatever is in the power of my consumer dollar to support the businesses and producers that are making good quality products that last, while resisting the temptation to buy "cheap stuff".
I've bought dresses from Plum that still look good after 3 years; I have bought Bodum travel mugs that keep my coffee super hot and don't break; I have invested in a few artisan pottery mugs that I will likely have for the rest of my life and a wallet from the Salt Spring Island Leather works that will also likely last for the rest of my life.
The crazy thing is that good quality, artisan goods are not even as expensive as the name-brand products that we associate with good quality. Some name brands are excellent, but some are just hype. So, next time you are investing in a new outfit, cookware, appliance, home-item, or anything else, consider how long you expect the item to last and whether its lifespan is comparable to its lifespan in the landfill once it serves you, or whether you'd be able to get it repaired/serviced to increase its lifespan.
I'd like to give a shout out to iRevive Mobile who take transit and walk to wherever you are (in Vancouver) and fix your smart phone/iPhone/iPad on the spot. Because let's face it, one of the biggest offenders of "Planned Obsolescence" is the electronics industry. This video is great, check out "The Story of Stuff" for more.