April 13, 2014
The World in a Trash Can The world has changed over the years in regards to the material goods that we possess. Mainly the biggest thing is the way our goods are produced. In today’s society and culture they are no longer made to last. Goods come and go in today’s world just like our modern culture. I will give you three reasons why I believe that we live in a throwaway society. These three reasons include: materials used to make objects are of cheaper quality, our landfills are becoming filled with more goods because they do not last as long, and most of our goods are being made cheaper overall and of a lower quality. I will start with the first reason, which is materials used to make items are made of a cheaper quality. The materials used in our products today are of cheaper value. One of the reasons for this is that years ago before the industrial revolution things were made one at a time by hand. There were many people involved in making the items, but it was made one at a time by craftsmen who learned these skills and trades over the years. This made the items better quality and unique in their style because each and every item was uniquely made by the individual who made it. In the early 1900’s most items then were built in factories on an assembly line and made of a fairly high quality. This new invention of an assembly line was able to put an individual’s unique talent towards certain parts of the product. The high quality material was so well made that it lasted too long for anyone to want anything new, so the newer stuff wasn’t in demand. This all changed in the 1960’s when the other countries like Germany and Japan began to make their electronics with cheaper quality and exported them to us. Materials used in these newer products were more for popularity and fashion than they were used for being long-lasting. Even if the product was not broken such as an iphone we began to throw them away because they were not in fashion anymore ("Made to Break: Are We Sinking under the Weight of Our Disposable Society?"). The quality of the materials used in our products is what sparked our throwaway society.
Our landfills are becoming filled with more goods that do not last as long and are of a disposable nature. In the mid-19th century we began a “throwaway ethic” when many cheap materials became available to the industry. This sparked our way of thinking that things are not made to last, they are made to break, so we buy throwaway and keep buying again. The American businessmen who didn’t want overstocked warehouses, but also wanted to keep people buying to make money figured out ways to make throwaway items. The first disposable items that were produced and still used today were razors, band-aids and paper products, such as; paper plates, Styrofoam cups and plates, paper towels, toilet paper, and diapers. In the early 1900’s we recycled and an example of that is we had milk delivered in glass bottles to families and then they were picked up, washed out and refilled and delivered again. Also, we used cloth diapers, which we washed and hung out to dry and reused. This type of method was able to keep our landfills from becoming filled with materials that cannot be decomposed such as the plastics that we use so much of today. In today’s society we have started to recycle again just as we have done in the past. As a nation we have become more wealthier and we buy more stuff, and even though we recycle, we are buying more stuff, which creates more wastes and not all of it is being recycled and going to fill our landfills. Many people look at certain parts of a product that has recyclable parts, but it is not totally recyclable and they try to recycle it, which the individuals at the plants cannot recycle the whole product and it gets sent to the landfills (Humes 240-12). We need to make products that are not only good at the time that we sell them, but products that have a resale…