Wasteful Western Culture – A Rant

Many environmentalists talk about the problems associated with our throwaway culture.  Most of the time I associate this with disposable items like pens, toothbrushes, plastic cutlery, etc.  There are many things that can be recycled – most plastic bottles and glass – but even that system isn’t without its flaws.  The quality of plastic tends to degrade after successive recycling until you have the materials in plastic bags that are very difficult to recycle.  Most recycling plants don’t even accept them.  Whenever I get plastic baggies (buying bulk items or gifts of cookies in ziplock bags), I wash and reuse them for as long as possible.  Sure it’s a little time consuming but it makes me feel better.  I have it, it’s still usable, why not try and preserve it for a bit?

Last night I saw somebody eating a salad.  She packed dressing in a ziplock bag.  The woman bit a hole into a corner, dumped the dressing onto her salad, and eventually threw the bag away.  I was disgusted!  What a waste!  It’s no wonder our oceans are swirling vortexes of plastic.

I mean, really, how hard is it to put dressing in a reusable container?  I have a tiny glass tupperware jar perfect for packing condiments or dressings.  It would take just as much time to prepare that as it would a baggie of dressing in the morning.  People often don’t think of it that way.  People don’t think of the consequences  associated with buying and tossing.  They want something easy, mess-free, and with minimal cleanup.  Ah, modern living…

It just boggles my mind.

Today another woman dropped a travel mug made with ceramic.  (Why ceramic is a good choice for a travel mug is another matter entirely…)  The handle shattered but the actual mug and lid were intact.  In fact, the lid stayed secure and nothing spilled!  All the same she lamented that she never has one last for more than a year.  She headed to the trash can.  Several of us questioned why she would throw out a perfectly usable mug.  She seemed befuddled – what could she possible do without a handle?!  Some people, who otherwise seem very smart and clever, are often inept when it comes to basic survival skills.  Um…glue?  Use it without a handle?  Most travel bottles don’t even have handles.  But where would she put the handle to transport it home?  Um…  Finish your drink and then put it inside the mug?

It just amazes me that the first instinct people have is to dispose, dispose, dispose.  Chair has some tooth marks from the dog?  Throw it out.  Kids don’t want books anymore?  Throw them out.  (I have found both on the curb and rescued them.)  Your shirt is out of fashion?  It has a little stain?  Throw it out.

What is wrong with people?!

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

3 thoughts on “Wasteful Western Culture – A Rant

  1. I actually did an entire paper on this in my first year of college. I found that many people do not know the cost of their disposable ways and once their eyes were opened even just a little they re thought a lot of things, like paper towels, and plastic shopping bags, then again, you do open peoples eyes when you throw the shopping bags at them in the middle of your presentation 😛

  2. Sadly most people do not want to know the cost of their disposable lifestyle…because then they might be forced to rethink it. I try not to ever preach to people but it is frustrating that most of the time even when a subject comes up naturally…most people will shut me down it seconds.

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