General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

Should one exhaust the durable or expendable first?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10280points) July 13th, 2010

Say you have two objects that have a similar general use. Object A is able to maintain its property for multiple uses. Object B is for few or single use.

Is it better to use one before the other? Which?

In which circumstances would you change your opinion?

What are some of the objects that apply?


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7 Answers

bob_'s avatar

Which one is more expensive? Which one is better for the environment? You are not providing enough information.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Take for example a cloth towel, or a paper towel. Let’s say you have decided not to replace the paper towel, is it better then to use it and be done with it, or wait until the actual towel wears out to use that paper towel.

Or gasoline gets so rationed that you only have what is left in your car, but you also have a bicycle. Should you just use up what’s left of your gas, and then start riding the bike, or ride the bike and wait for a very special moment that you might really need the gas, like a trip to the hospital. I’d say the latter.

I think there must be many possibilities. What do you think…

bob_'s avatar

@Ltryptophan Well, as you said, there are many possibilities. Personally, I’m not much of a biker, so I’ll just drive my car. I’ll see what I do when I run out of gas. You know, like mankind.

Ltryptophan's avatar

I think it is relevant in the discussion of oil vs. nuclear power…also. Just thinking about it for a moment.

Jeruba's avatar

If I have two or more kinds of things for a similar purpose (pencil and pen, powder and liquid cleansers, more than one pair of shoes), and they are both (or all) exhaustible, there must be some reason for having more than one. Perhaps it’s the insurance you get from redundancy, or perhaps it’s because the different traits make them optimal for different purposes. A light, delicate pair of strappy high-heeled sandals is not going to wear longer than a pair of thick rubber-soled boots, but I would choose them over the boots for summer social events.

For as long as I had the choice, then, I would want to keep both and use each one as intended. For instance, I would prefer to use paper towels for something that is going to be nasty to wash out of a cloth rag, even if the rag would be reusable, unless paper towels would not stand up to the task.

In an apocalyptic scenario, I would definitely want the boots, the rag, and the pencil.

YARNLADY's avatar

I try not to purchase or acquire expendable products any more than I have to. If necessary, I would most likely use the durable, because I have storage capability, and would rather keep the expendable for emergencies.

Kraigmo's avatar

I get a thin sample sized toothpaste thing in the mail. It’s expendable.
Then there’s the huge tube of toothpaste in the bathroom. That’s durable.

So what do I do? I save one sample sized thing to use as an in-between if my toothpaste runs out. But what if I get more samples in the mail?

Well then at that point, they’re just using up limited space. So I’ll use all those right away, so I can throw away the little containers.

I think this type of issue is a case by case basis, however.

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