What we can do to change the balance in this throwaway society?
If you have ever decluttered your house and stared at all the bin bags of rubbish, you will understand my point. Our culture today is to consume, consume, consume. Whether it’s clothes, shoes or items for the house we all buy a multitude of product.
Most of us upgrade our phone yearly when there is nothing wrong with the old one. The advertising and new improvements keep us coming back for more.
Is this due to the constant advertisements and today’s culture or is it something more? Products from the last decade do not last, as well as they did in earlier years.
Reports state that iPhones start to lose battery power within 5 years, causing you to need a new phone. Software for the phones can only ever be updated a certain number of times.
Currently, I am typing this article on a fully functioning laptop. The computer is still fast and has no dents or scratches. Yet in a year’s time, I will need to look at upgrading. The operating system will no longer update. This will mean that new applications will no longer work.
The technology companies have us under their control.
I remember when I cleared my Grandmothers house out there being a functioning TV from the 1970s. Yes, it was big and wasn’t a smart TV, but it was still working. My current TV is four years old and already needs replacing. The colour is fading in patches and the volume cuts out. This product hasn’t been made to last.
As our demand for goods increases, manufacturers are forced to find faster production. This is when quality suffers. We want lighter products, which results in lighter less durable materials being used. The average life span of many household products has reduced drastically.
This was never more evident than when I visited our local tip a week after Christmas. Every hopper was fit to burst. Rubbish was piled up in every area and lorries were entering on the hour to remove it. Even with the constant stream of lorries, the tip was on the verge of closing due to the fact it was beyond capacity.
Driving away I considered where this vast mountain of rubbish would end up.The truth is a small proportion would be recycled, the rest would be left as landfill. A pile of rotting rubbish for children to grow up seeing and in some countries, play on.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors — we borrow it from our children.” — Native American Proverb
I cook weekly in a cooking dish that is over 70 years old. Another of my Grandmothers great purchases. Every week it cleans up like new with the smallest of effort. If you can find a cook pot like that now, I will be surprised. We simply live in a society where it is not a priority for things to last.
I watched three Christmas cookery programs this year, the advice was to buy throw away pans. Cook your Christmas dinner and then throw the trays away. I used them and I am sure many of you did. Why? It was easier, quicker and more convenient. I was pleased with this decision until I saw the mountain of rubbish Christmas has created.
What can we do?
Run for prime minister and change all policy, seems a little drastic. There are small changes we can make, to improve the world for our great grandchildren.
- If you don’t need all your clothes, donate them or use them as dusters.
- When you go to buy the latest gadget, think do I need this. Most housewives of the ’80s had to have an electric carving knife, few exist now.
- Go to local shops like greengrocers who use paper bags to reduce your packaging waste. Not only is it good for the environment, but brilliant for your local economy.
- Give books, CD’s etc away to charities to pass on. Better still use the local library and borrow these goods.
- Recycle old furniture by changing the colour of them or simply taking them apart. Make them into something new, depending on your skill set.
Be aware of this throwaway society and the world we are leaving our children. Try to make a change no matter how small.
Have you had any success Upcylcing some furniture if so comment with a picture?