DCSIMG

‘Our society is consuming at an alarming rate’

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Early last century, the manufacturing philosophy of “planned obsolescence” became the ethos for most manufacturers. 
As mass production became prevalent, manufacturers made it a goal to produce goods which don’t last or which become less desirable after a short period. This trend, buoyed up by clever advertising, has been growing in popularity to such an extent over the last six decades that it’s now an acceptable practice not only by most manufacturers, but by the majority of consumers too. As comedian and presenter Alexander Armstrong puts it so aptly: “So it turns out we’re the people who closed down the nice repair shops because we’ve been chucking stuff out instead of taking it to them. 
“Thanks to my toaster-buying, non-trouser-patching antics, 10 years from now you’ll sooner find a griffin than you will someone to fix your old Hoover. 
“I can only apologise and hope that, just as knitting made a recent comeback, maybe soldering and general Teasmade repairing could be the hot new hobby of the twenty teens.” 
The majority of us fall prey to this ‘buy-throw away-buy’ philosophy, often without giving it a second thought. Phones and computers are replaced every couple of years. 
Gone are the days of furniture being passed on from generation to generation; mending and darning are concepts few of us even understand, never mind use. Fashion changes so rapidly that clothes are replaced each season. 
And then there is food waste. Many restaurants offer portions designed to feed whole families on one plate, half of which are often binned at the end of the meal. Clever (and unnecessary) use of ‘best before’ dates is yet another ploy to make us waste. 
Tempting offers and lack of time to shop every couple of days, we end up throwing much away; we also seem to have lost the ability to use our noses and tastebuds to determine the ‘best by’ dates. 
The list is endless – packaging excess, plastic bags, fast food litter, public bins overflowing with recyclable material; houses being built for a couple and 2 children which are big enough to house a whole village; cars which resemble mini buses carry 2-3 passengers. 
We’re consuming and throwing away stuff at an alarmingly unsustainable rate. Not only does this create problems with waste disposal, but it also promotes the use of ‘sweat shops’ in underdeveloped countries. The consumers’ desire for cheap, throwaway goods and the retailers’ profit margins means that goods need to be made ridiculously cheap. Furthermore, resources that should be replenishable for future generations are being used at a shocking rate and pollution is reaching an epidemic level as we saw earlier this year. 
Whilst there seems to be a degree of awakening with trends such as ‘vintage’ shops, upcycling websites and crafts, grow-your-own interest, this is not nearly enough. We need to do much more and we need to begin at home.

Early last century, the manufacturing philosophy of “planned obsolescence” became the ethos for most manufacturers.

As mass production became prevalent, manufacturers made it a goal to produce goods which don’t last or which become less desirable after a short period. This trend, buoyed up by clever advertising, has been growing in popularity to such an extent over the last six decades that it’s now an acceptable practice not only by most manufacturers, but by the majority of consumers too. As comedian and presenter Alexander Armstrong puts it so aptly: “So it turns out we’re the people who closed down the nice repair shops because we’ve been chucking stuff out instead of taking it to them.

“Thanks to my toaster-buying, non-trouser-patching antics, 10 years from now you’ll sooner find a griffin than you will someone to fix your old Hoover.

“I can only apologise and hope that, just as knitting made a recent comeback, maybe soldering and general Teasmade repairing could be the hot new hobby of the twenty teens.”

The majority of us fall prey to this ‘buy-throw away-buy’ philosophy, often without giving it a second thought. Phones and computers are replaced every couple of years.

Gone are the days of furniture being passed on from generation to generation; mending and darning are concepts few of us even understand, never mind use. Fashion changes so rapidly that clothes are replaced each season.

And then there is food waste. Many restaurants offer portions designed to feed whole families on one plate, half of which are often binned at the end of the meal. Clever (and unnecessary) use of ‘best before’ dates is yet another ploy to make us waste.

Tempting offers and lack of time to shop every couple of days, we end up throwing much away; we also seem to have lost the ability to use our noses and tastebuds to determine the ‘best by’ dates.

The list is endless – packaging excess, plastic bags, fast food litter, public bins overflowing with recyclable material; houses being built for a couple and 2 children which are big enough to house a whole village; cars which resemble mini buses carry 2-3 passengers.

We’re consuming and throwing away stuff at an alarmingly unsustainable rate. Not only does this create problems with waste disposal, but it also promotes the use of ‘sweat shops’ in underdeveloped countries. The consumers’ desire for cheap, throwaway goods and the retailers’ profit margins means that goods need to be made ridiculously cheap. Furthermore, resources that should be replenishable for future generations are being used at a shocking rate and pollution is reaching an epidemic level as we saw earlier this year.

Whilst there seems to be a degree of awakening with trends such as ‘vintage’ shops, upcycling websites and crafts, grow-your-own interest, this is not nearly enough. We need to do much more and we need to begin at home.

By Belper Resident Kathy Fairweather

 

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