Estimated reading time:6 minutes, 27 seconds
Everyone has a story. Tara Button wants MPs to bring in a simple law that stops companies making products built to break – and sheâ€™s asking us to help her by signing a 38 Degrees petition that got 8,000 signatures within a fortnight of its launch. Â Can she get 100,000 to help throw away our throwaway culture? Interview by Nicola Baird
â€śI tried really hard not to do this idea. Itâ€™s completely away from what I normally do â€“ write childrenâ€™s books and advertising copy. My friends think of me as a geek tweeting about Harry Potter and Game of Thrones,â€ť she adds. They clearly didnâ€™t realise Tara ButtonÂ was a self-confessed â€śsucker for petitions.â€ť They do now.
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â€śI was searching for an electrical appliance and it got me thinking about what lasts, then I saw a Guardian article that the French had passed a bill about obsolescence. It seemed to me such a simple idea because people can make decent choices if they know how long a product is going to last,” says Tara.Â After that every time I saw anything about the environment Iâ€™d get itchy inside. Iâ€™d think Iâ€™ve got this idea about finding appliances that lasts and maybe my idea would help.â€ť It was clear she couldn’t doÂ nothing, so she set up a petition which would:
1) Aid consumer choice by enabling proper comparison for the first time, (by providing cost and predicted lifetime).
2) Prevent companies building shoddy products built to break.
3) See less products madeâ€¦ and less going to landfill.
4) Mean that manufacturers can move away from their perpetual price war and compete on quality again.
5) Help poorer family out of a cycle of poverty where they are forced to perpetually buy and replace broken appliances.
StillÂ her idea wouldnâ€™t go away.
Initially Tara, 33, considered running a website-store stocking products with lifetime guarantees. But she says, â€śI couldnâ€™t think how to make money from it or how to avoid the headache of getting a warehouse or drop shipping.â€ť So she decided to keep her day job but go ahead creatingÂ the buymeonce.com website and pack it with info about where to find kettles, pans, shoes, furniture that are built to last.
Tara, who was born in Hong Kong, is a friendly Holloway resident. Sheâ€™s full of energy â€“ working full time at Islington-based Krow on Goswell Road, running a childrenâ€™s writing group two evenings a week (often at Angel) and also finishing a sci-fi book for 10-12-year-olds about a very spoilt alien who gets a human pet.
Even so sheâ€™s been stunned by the way the petition to stop greedy companies making products that break took off on 38Degrees.
Places Tara Button likes in Islington
- When Iâ€™m not trying to save the world I run a book writersâ€™ social club. Itâ€™s a childrenâ€™s writing group with about 140 members. We meet twice a week, often at Candid CafĂ©. I set it up on Meet Up. We sit in silence for two hours and then are allowed to talk and eat cake â€“ itâ€™s a way to create an office for writers.
- I try really hard not to eat cup cakes, butâ€¦ I buy the ingredients from Morrisons as itâ€™s very close. Occasionally if I need gluten free ingredients or something extra healthy then I get it from Waitrose on Holloway Road. Iâ€™m also excited about the new organic shop just by the Coronet (Wetherspoon pub) at 338-346 Holloway Road.
I often walk through the Nagâ€™s Head and use the stalls for reheeling shoes and key cutting. Once I lost my cat, Prim, on top of the market roof and for days couldnâ€™t get her down.
- My boyfriend and I are suckers for the ÂŁ10 meals from M&S on Holloway Road. We also have a favourite greasy spoon, the Hollywood Bistro. We also like the Front Room on Tollington Park Road, N4.
- I was commissioned to write a childrenâ€™s book, with the working title of Wishing for Normal for Body & Soul, the children and family HIV charity by Sadlerâ€™s Wells. It does wonderful counselling and support.
- I went to Filthyâ€™s, 274 Holloway Road for my birthday which sells cocktails in jam jars.
Instead of enjoying the summer Tara has been studying the small print of what we buy. â€śItâ€™s become my life,â€ť she says. â€śI spend a lot of my time tracking through the T&Cs (terms and conditions) and if it is not clear then I call up. Itâ€™s a bit random: I now know far too much about screwdrivers – but I donâ€™t like shopping so I am excited about only having to buy things once.â€ť
As Tara reveals on the new website buymeonce.com â€“ which her employer has offered to help with â€“ there are already products that really do last years, from shoes to umbrellas. So if you need to buy something then do take the time to have a look at the website. Â Itâ€™s greatÂ that Islington has been the birthplace of such a useful resource. Thank you Tara, and good luck making our MPs create a really useful labelling law.
- Do sign and share the petition, see https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-greedy-companies-making-products-that-break
- Â Buymeonce.com
- #buymeonce #builttobreak
Over to you
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