By Alicia Buford, Sustainability Studies student
One day before class I was looking at what the weather was supposed to be like the next day and saw that it was supposed to be windy and rainy. I packed my umbrella in my book bag and then realized that was a perfect “monstrous hybrid.” It’s a product that combines glue, cloth, plastic pieces with teeth around the edges, wire, and metal. It contains both technical and organic nutrients in a way that cannot be easily separated, thereby rendering it unable to be recycled or reused by either system. The umbrella, like most monstrous hybrids, can only be “moved somewhere else” and contribute to the waste stream and cannot be reused. It would be almost impossible to remove all of the pieces to separate for recycling since there were adhesives and glues used. The umbrella is only useful as long as it stays intact. It depends on how well you take care of your umbrella and how rough the weather conditions are on it. There is no guaranteed life expectancy on this product. I was looking up the making of an umbrella and compiled the following information.
- When it comes to the ribs and stretchers, the ribs run underneath the canopy of the umbrella and stretchers join the ribs with the shaft of the umbrella. They are assembled methodically to give “U” shape to the ribs and are usually made of steel or some other such metal. The ribs are attached to the shaft, round nylon or plastic piece with teeth around the edges, and then held with thin wire. The stretchers are connected to the shaft of the umbrella with a plastic or metal runner, the piece that moves along the shaft of the umbrella when it is opened or closed. The ribs and stretchers are interconnected with a joiner, which is usually a small jointed metal hinge.
- Then, there are two catch springs in the shaft of each umbrella. They are small pieces of metal that has to be pressed whenever the umbrella is slid up the shaft to open, and again when the umbrella is slid down the shaft for closing.
- Each panel is cut separately from piles of cloth materials called gores.
- A metal ferrule may or may not be forced over and glued to the tip of the umbrella that passes through the canopy.
- The handle, made of wood, plastic, metal, or any other material, is fixed at the end of the shaft with the help of screw or glue.
This is typically for the making of a stick umbrella. There are collapsible rain umbrellas too, which are mechanically more complicated than stick umbrellas, although they are made through the same basic technology.