Recycling is one of the best ways to prevent trash from going straight into landfills. What about the other trash? What about things that are broken? You can't get anymore use out of them, right? Wrong. If it is broken, it can most likely be fixed. Yet, most people didn't take shop or home ec class in middle or high school, so we don't know how to fix it. We were not taught how to fix things, instead we were taught to just buy something new and throw away what was broken. It's not good for the environment or our wallet.
I took both shop and home ec class in middle school, so I've learned how to mend things and have some skill with fixing machines. Home ec was well divided between cooking, sewing and other household sufficiency tasks, but shop class was not as balanced. While there were our projects like having an egg survive a "crash" or making a fan-driven plastic bowl UFO, most of the class was consumed by flight simulators and bridge building. The class was designed to teach about technology, but not how it worked.
It's not just millennials, but people of all ages as well who don't know how to fix and tinker. Unless you are a mechanic, you probably don't know how to do much with your car besides check the oil or change a spare tire. If you aren't a plumber, you probably don't know some simple fixes for your clogged sink. If you aren't a technician, your favorite radio or TV might be worthless to you when it starts to get a little too static-y. We don't know how to fix things anymore.
Now there are movements to make America handy again. Fix-It Workshops and Repair Fairs have been becoming increasing popular all over the US. Most are free and a valuable experience if you want to learn how to diagnose and repair things. Unlike a repair shop, you don't just drop things off and come back to pick them up. At these events, you are given a "coach" who shows you what to look for and how to fix what you brought in along the way. They usually result in a 70 percent repair rate for what you bring in.
We can't learn how to fix everything, and we might not have the tools to either, but that's why we have repair men. So if we can't do it ourselves, we have someone to rely on. Recycling and fixing things are two of the best ways to help reduce the flow of waste into our landfills. That means we have to educate ourselves on how to properly fix things. If you can't find a fix-it event, I'm sure there are plenty of DIY tutorials out there.