“The throw-away culture is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. The term describes a vital view that overconsumption and also excessive manufacturing of short-lived or disposable items."

We’ve got kind of a difficulty here. Top top the best side of the pendulum, consumerism has actually reached one all-time high, with assets reaching your planned obsolescence within absurdly quick timespans and new products gift rolled out (and bought) through the millions every day. And, because every activity has an equal and opposite reaction , we have to expect consequences. So, on the left side of the pendulum, we’re looking at the an extremely real opportunity of a fixed extinction, the sixth on record for ours planet and also the very first since the extinction of the dinosaurs – sixty 5 million year ago.

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"E-waste represents practically 70% the the toxic waste in landfills."

You could argue the extinction is a natural phenomenon and also you’d it is in right, in diverted situations. Yet considering the range of this potential mass extinction, we’re talking the possible loss of three fourths that earth’s current species, it’s tough to watch it together anything various other than grossly un natural. Rather than the large natural disasters like meteors or succeeding volcanic eruptions believed to have caused past mass extinctions, scientists say this one’s different. Human tasks including deforestation, over-fishing, poaching and worldwide warming might be to blame for a 6th mass extinction: Human activities largely moved by our society’s demand for having much more than we need, leading to the highest ever annual worldwide waste generation on record. I’m not saying our rubbish is the just or even the primary reason of our existing environmental situation, but it theatre a far-reaching role, and the ‘must-have mindset’ driving that an also bigger one.


Global rubbish generation with projected boost (Joseph Stromberg, 2013)

This isn’t good. We’re already seeing really real and also devastating examples of the environmental affect of ours throw-away society. Ever before heard the “The an excellent Pacific garbage Patch”? It’s no an urban legend. Google it.

There are, obviously, a boatload of factors why society has advanced into such a remarkable waste creating machine. Even if it is its food, housing, energy or customer products, we are taking an ext from the earth than we ever have before, and also there’s more of united state doing it. Many of us eat more, use more, buy an ext and have much more than us need. And also we throw much more of it in the garbage. A lot more. But why?

Because, on average, us can.


Take, because that example, this scenario. In 1977, the average yearly income every capita (US) was $5,785.00 ($20,256.00 2013 CPI-U-RS readjusted dollars). In 2013, the average annual income per capita was $28,829.00. The to apologize II (one of the an initial mass created microcomputers) come out in 1977, and also could it is in purchased for an median of $1950.00(depending ~ above memory) v a basic price that $1298.00. That way for the average person to to buy the mean Apple II computer system in 1977, castle would have to shell out a chuck 33.7% of their annual income. Because that the functions of this scenario, and also understanding the this is one oversimplified example for argument sake, I’ll stick with Apple; the mean price of a MacBook in 2013 was $1,286.00. So, because that the average human to to buy the mean Apple computer system in 2013, they would should spend just 4% the their yearly income.


1977 apologize II Computer, accessible for just 33.7% of your yearly income in 1977

2013 MacBook, easily accessible for 4% that your annual income in 2013

Needless to say, affordability for technology items has actually increased considerably. This instance is just for computers, but think around all that the other devices we depend on that was when out that reach because that the typical person. Vehicles, televisions, phones, digital appliances – in developed nations this things are staples, us all have them – multiples of castle even, and we upgrade them at an alarming rate. Attracted in by advertising that boasts top fuel economy, high efficiency, much faster processing speed, much better graphics, us buy points we think will enhance our high quality of life, and often even be better because that the environment. And also don’t get me wrong, sometimes they are. Yet only if we uncover a much better way to regulate the ingredient we get rid of to make room for the new, enhanced versions.

If you’re acquisition your provided items come the dump, you probably need come re-evaluate how much far better for the setting that new item is. The environmental expense of these toxic items as soon as carelessly discarded is staggering in comparison come the environmental (or other) services of that new equipment. Audit for a comparatively little percentage that the full waste in our landfills, about 2%, e-waste represents almost 70% of the toxic waste in landfills. Our tech addiction is accurate poisoning the planet.

The non-profit organization I represent, the electronic Recycling association (ERA) is focused specifically on to reduce the waste produced by personal electronics prefer computers, laptops, phones and also other technology you’d find in your average office. We take benefit of the short primary use cycle for this equipment, which much more often than not way that there is a remarkable amount of fertile life continuing to be in tools when it come at our facilities. So us wipe it, deal with it up, and also prepare the for second use. Devices is either detailed to deserving charities and NPOs with our Canada-wide an innovation donation programs or sold at a low price to individuals and also companies no qualified for our donation programs but unable come afford brand new equipment. We’ll additionally often get equipment in that us can’t fix, so this items are sent out over come our recycling partners, that responsibly dismantle and separate materials for recycling, ensuring a negligible landfill contribution. All donations are conditional ~ above signing an commitment binding the recipient come return the tools to ERA once they no longer want it or it stops working for responsible processing.

This option is a win-win. Couple of virgin natural resources are forced to refurbish equipment, and also often it has years of fertile life remaining. Hundreds of charitable organizations receive and also use this equipment and are maybe to direct funds come program advancement as opposed to to buy expensive brand-new tech gear. Maintaining operational technology in use much longer reduces the need for new equipment and lessens the stress, overload on resources. When, inevitably, tools reaches end of life, it’s handle in the many environmentally responsible manner right now available. Over there is room for development there also though, when recycling is a significantly far better option 보다 trashing, it is quiet a resource consuming process.

We’re act what us can, but we can’t reuse or recycle equipment we aren’t receiving.

So why aren’t civilization utilizing reuse and also recycling programs rather of trashing your stuff? probably it’s because society isn’t mindful of the influence their rubbish is actually having actually on ours planet, or possibly the process to reuse or recycle family members items isn’t straightforward enough, or maybe people don’t think their an individual choices will have a measurable affect so lock opt the end of eco-friendly practices every together. Or maybe are afraid or denial do it difficult to imagine our world without 75% that the varieties that do it together a beautiful and also diverse place. A ar where we deserve to actually live. Yet it’s a reality, one the has currently begun and will directly influence our generation and the generation of our children. This is in every of our ago yards.

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Let’s avoid thinking around how us can change the future of our planet and start doing something about it. We can take action, individually, in every of our resides that cumulatively will have actually a big impact. Just because we have the right to afford new things doesn’t mean we need them, or the the things we already have room no much longer serving a purpose. Consumerism, and also the throw-away society, room vicious cycles – persons each and also every among us room voting for through our personal lifestyle choices - and we’re circling the drain.

How much do we have to lose prior to we check out the impact of our lifestyles and readjust the way we live?