My poor backpack. I’ve been carrying it around for over ten years, and finally, one of the main zippers stopped zipping.
Or, I should say, one of the sliders stopped working. Fortunately, this backpack has two sliders, so I could still close the zipper using the other slider, but I always had to remember which side to zip from so I didn’t accidentally sling the backpack over my back, thinking the zipper was closed, and empty all the contents onto the sidewalk. No big deal, but I just prayed that the other slider would hold up and keep working. I had no idea what to do about it, and it seemed stupid to send a perfectly good backpack to the landfill just because of a little thing like a zipper. Remember… I can still use the plastic I already had before I started this project. I just can’t buy new plastic.
Fortunately for me and my zipper, the Hercules Library chose my book Plastic-Free for their “Book to Action” series of events, in which the library gives away copies of a particular book and then schedules events that encourage readers to take action based on the book. Two weeks ago, I came to the library to give a presentation on plastic-free living and learned that one of the action events planned would be a Fixit Clinic where people could bring broken gadgets and learn how to fix them instead of throwing them away. Serendipitously, Fixit Clinic’s Peter Mui was at my presentation to promote the upcoming event.
I showed Peter my backpack, and he said this kind of zipper repair is super common and also super easy to fix! Just take some pliers (I think he may have actually said “vice grip,” which I don’t have, but I do have pliers, so let’s just say “pliers”) and squeeze the parts of the slider together so that they bring the two sides of the zipper closer together. Of course, it was a couple of weeks before I actually tried the repair and couldn’t remember exactly what he had said, so I Googled “How to Repair a Broken Zipper” and found this handy, illustrated set of instructions.
All I did was squeeze the sides together and the top and bottom together.
And you know what? After a few tries, it worked. The zipper seems to be holding together very well.
I guess the test will be when the backpack is stuff full. I may have to come back and update this post. Next up: fixing the hole in the net side pocket. It’s not a huge priority because the mug hasn’t fallen through yet. But it does look rather shabby, doesn’t it?
Don’t forget that one way to consume less plastic is to fix things when they break instead of tossing them and replacing with something new. If you’re interested in attending a Fixit Clinic or starting one in your area, check out the website.
Here are some more things I’ve repaired and documented on this site. What’s on your Repair To-Do List?