broken luggage

For Earth Day, why not repair your broken luggage instead of buying a new bag?

If your suitcase is showing wear and tear from over-zealous baggage handlers tossing it around like a football, consider taking the time to repair it yourself instead of throwing it away and buying a new one. Not only will it save you money, but it means you’ll be using a little less plastic which is the theme of this year’s Earth Day,  Planet vs. Plastics.

Earth Day organizers are calling for “the end of plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60 per cent reduction in the production of plastics by 2040 and an ultimate goal of building a plastic-free future for generations to come. ”

Most suitcases use a lot of plastic, but the parts that usually snap off, like handles and wheels, are quite easy to replace by yourself. You can fix your broken luggage by buying replacement suitcase handles and replacement suitcase wheels that can be snapped or screwed into place in just a few minutes. The most important thing to do before attempting to fix your bag is to measure the parts that need to be replaced so that you order the correct replacements.

The plastic wheels on roller bags seem to be especially vulnerable. Not only do they regularly break off while being loaded into aircraft, but they also wear out from repeated use. One way to prolong their lifespans is to buy silicone rings that fit over your roller bag wheels to protect them from rough surfaces. A wonderful side-effect of these rings is that your roller bag’s wheels will no longer make an unholy racket as roll them down the sidewalk.

If your goal is to repair your bag without buying more plastic, that’s also possible as I did it myself after one memorable trip a few years ago that saw my suitcase be abused repeatedly by the airline. Not only did the top handle break off on a flight to Winnipeg, but the side handle snapped off on the flight home. I was so irate that I rushed to the airline desk to complain. Their representative shrugged me off and told me I could get it repaired somewhere and make a claim to be reimbursed.  It wasn’t the answer I was looking for as I wanted instant satisfaction, but the policy makes sense as what’s to stop someone from flying with the same broken bag and making repeated claims for compensation every time they fly?

I ultimately repaired both handles myself by fashioning loops of rope and dressing it up with some knots to make it look slightly less trashy, but, in the end, the rope handles are actually more durable than the original ones and will likely never break off and even make the bag easier to handle. If you want something that looks a little more finished, this fellow’s paracord handles look like an interesting alternative to my rough-and-ready handles:

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