December 7, 2010

A Change in Littering

When I was growing up, people littered in the streets just as much as they do today. Most of the rubbish though at the time were soft-drink cans and bottles as well as beer bottles.

I've noticed a change in the last decade though. Litter on the streets seems mostly now to be from flavoured milk. Whoever is doing the advertising for flavoured milk appears to have made a significant change to our thinking about the things we drink, possibly because they've convinced us that it's better for our health.

It seems kind of funny that of all things, our trash should be so significantly impacted by advertising! 

I imagine that the people managing our rubbish dumps would also have noticed some changes over the years as well. As a youngster I recall televisions and radios etc being quite expensive, but the great thing was they lasted longer than many electrical goods of today. So our dumps today must contain many more of those electrical goods than they did in yesteryear. 

We have become such a throw-away society, which is not necessarily the consumer's fault, but rather those of the manufacturers who create the cheapest, and least-lasting goods of all time so that we consumers buy more of their products. 

Organised rubbish dump
Photo by: Pete Chapman
Years back I read a book about a society where electrical goods, cars and homes etc never wore out. On Friday I was discussing the idea with JD and his two friends and we came to the conclusion that our society would simply freeze at that point in development, as they would never need to replace anything. If things didn't need replacing, there would be little need for research into advancing our understanding of or creating new technology.  This would probably reduce research to an absolute minimum and we as a society would stagnate. While environmentally it would be great, it would be fatal for the development of mankind and our technology. 

In fact it would probably be fatal for the economy of each country with no new manufacturing, leading to closure of factories, leading to high unemployment and a major financial depression.

Perhaps developing cheaper technology is not really a bad thing, except for our environment.

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