A society, such as our own, which produces excessive amounts of disposable products and is in the grip of consumerism, is commonly referred to as a throw-away society. Although there have been several attempts to move towards Green Consumption (Hardner and Rice 89), the average person in a Throw-Away Society has little regard for the garbage he produces, the raw materials and energy he wastes and the environment that he harms as part of his daily routine.
A study relating to the concern showed by consumers about solid waste issues showed that respondents have a selfish attitude when it comes to consuming; they care most about how toxic the product is and least about product packaging (Ebreo et al. 107).
As compared to a hard-copy based work environment where most documentation was in print form, today, with the advancement of technology and connectivity, we are able to reduce the amount of paper usage to a minimum by resorting to virtual backups and sharing of information; thus reducing the paperwork involved in updating files. In addition, consumers who are aware of the wastages involved in small-sized, individually packed items, go for the wise choice of ‘economy packs’ and bulk purchasing options which not only save resources (in terms of packaging materials) but also save money. Lastly, the increasing value of antiques makes one think twice about whether our society really is a throw-away society; if indeed we had no value for ancient artifacts, would auction houses still be around? Would people be willing to pay exorbitant amounts for an item that has little or no utility in today’s world?
Despite the strong refuting arguments stated above, I believe we do indeed live in a throw-away society. Technological advancements, an array of disposable items available on the market and planned or built-in obsolescence (Guiltinan 19) by many a brand have appealed to the tech-savvy who dispose of their gadgets at the drop of a hat in favor for one that has simple cosmetic or soft-ware changes made to it. The driving force behind such consumer purchase decisions is the media and advertising scene. Advertisements promote a shameless consumerist society and appeal to emotions of gullible consumers, thus trapping them into throwing-away useful items and purchasing new ones to ‘fit’ into the crowd.
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