This week, Clare breaks her old MP3 player, and looks at buying a wind-up or solar replacement.
Ow. Ow. Ow. That was a big mistake!
I’m standing on the back doorstep with bruises down my legs, and a bleeding elbow.
“Clare! Ben! What happened?!” Dad cries.
“Clare came off her bike”, Ben explains. “It was my fault, I was doing some of my BMX moves, and she wanted to try, so I tried to teach her, and… well she managed to flip over the handle bars, and then the bike fell on top of her.”
Dad glares momentarily at Ben, and then looks me up and down.
“Lucky you were wearing your helmet then”, Dad says, gently feeling my arms. I wince.
“Sorry”, He says, “Nope. Nothing broken. Go upstairs and clean those scrapes. And put your jacket in the wash before it stains.”
“Yes, Dad”, I nod, unclipping my helmet.
“I’ll send Ben up to check on you in a minute”, He smiles.
It’s only when I’m in the bathroom and I’m taking off my jacket, that I discover I have broken something – my MP3 player is in pieces. To be honest, it was pretty battered anyway. I had already managed to drop it several times, including once in a pond – it must have got caught under my bicycle when I went over. I sadly empty the pieces onto the side of the sink. Ah, alas, poor music player!
I show the bits to Ben when he comes to check on me, and ask if its in any way fixable. He raises an eyebrow at me, and then frowns at the tiny bits of screen and plastic.
“I’m sorry Clare but it’s totally broken. You’ll just have to throw it away, or recycle it, or whatever.”
“Oh”, I say disappointedly.
“Just buy a new one”, Ben says shrugging, “It was an old model. You can get one with more memory on it, and doesn’t run on batteries…”
An energy efficient light bulb goes off in my head. Of course, Ben’s right! This is a perfect opportunity to replace it with an eco-friendly model!
I guess Ben is still feeling responsible for me falling off my bicycle, because he offers to help me look for a new music player online. Though he knows more about gadgets than me, he’s not sure where to begin. He tries a couple of computer shop sites that he likes to use first, but doesn’t find anything. So I use the search engine instead.
There are quite a few solar powered music players, including some things I hadn’t even come across before – there’s a big solar powered multimedia player that you can play games and videos on, a music player that sticks to your window and has bluetooth and even solar powered speakers! Again I’ll have to mention these to Mum and Dad – you can get cone shaped speakers, or even a speaker shaped like a plant shoot! However, I just want a basic music player, an MP3 or MP4 – I’ve never known the difference – of which there are several, some are solar powered and some are wind-up ones.
“These eco-friendly MP3 and MP4 players aren’t half bad”, Ben says, sounding a bit surprised. “Look at this one. You can keep films and pictures on it as well as music, it takes SD cards… it looks pretty slick too!”
“You sound surprised!” I say, “What were you expecting? That they were all going to be made from recycled cardboard?”
“Pretty much, yeah”, Ben jokes.
“Hey, look!” I point out, “This one has a solar panel that charges up in artificial light!”
“It doesn’t seem to have tons of memory space though”, Ben says, “You could get a normal music player cheaper, one that charges from your computer, and with about the same memory.”
“I guess. But if I had a wind up one or a solar one, I’d always be able to re-charge it. Wherever I was.”
“True”, Ben says wrinkling his nose, “I suppose that is an advantage.”
“And”, I continue, “Remember the two more expensive ones were multi-media players, not just music players.”
Ben’s gives me an exaggerated worried look.
“I knew it!” He cries mockingly, “You’re so going to be a lawyer like Mum.”
I immediately pull a face. And learn Latin? And do that much paper work? No way. I’ve already decided I’m going to go into a environmental job, where there’s no paper work in involved.
“Anyway”, I say, “I don’t mind. I’ll just have to save up my allowance.”
A thought suddenly strikes me. I’ve found eco-friendly music players, even speakers, but what about earphones? I insist Ben take a look for some, even though he is dubious that such a thing exists.
I’m right though. There are earphones and headphones for sale made from eco-friendly materials. One particular set of earphones have PVC free cables and wooden casings, and another is made from recycled materials, such as aluminium. Ben thinks this is a bit much, as they all seem to be designer ones. He also thinks it would be stupid for me to pay out more than a tenner on earphones, as I have a track record of breaking and snapping them. I once even managed to cut the cable on a pair of earphones when I was wrapping up a Christmas present.
“It doesn’t really matter at this point I guess,” I shrug, “I won’t be able to buy a new music player for a while anyway.”
“Clare! Ben!” Mum calls, making us both jump, “It’s nine o’clock, and it’s Monday tomorrow, have you started your homework yet?”
Both Ben and I groan.
“We’re doing it now!” yells back Ben.
We both trudge off to our respective bedrooms. Before I start though, I quickly count up my money. It’s going to take a while to make up the money I need. Perhaps I can persuade Dad to pay me to mow the lawns. I’ll try and keep off the flower beds this time.
I’m just starting my history essay, when Ben walks in.
“Hey, you busy?” he says, but doesn’t wait for me to reply.
“Here”, he says tossing me something. I catch it awkwardly. It’s his old MP3 player. The one he had before he got his super phone.
“Reuse, recycle!” He says cheerfully, and then plods off to the bathroom.
I’m stunned. Could this green idea of mine actually be starting to work on him? I hear him running a bath from across the landing. Oh well, you win some…
It’s the beginning of December and the family begin to plan their first eco-Christmas.