The Environmental Impact Of A Disposable World
Convenience culture is widespread all over the world. Years ago Thai fisherman would wrap their lunches in organic and biodegradable banana leaves. They toss scraps overboard to be picked at by fish and wildlife before being recaptured by the earth. Everything went full circle.
Fast forward through the years. Greater advancement and technology means we now live in a disposable world that is all about convenience, disposability & unnecessary packaging. Throwing banana leaves had zero effect on the environment but todays convenience tells a much darker story of our environmental footprint.
The Build-Up Of Waste
Tossing out a bag or two in the bin each week may not seem like a lot but it’s important to look at the convenience culture problem on a larger scale. It’s your bin, your neighbor’s bin, their neighbor’s bin and so on amounting to what turns out to be many tons of waste. Take plastic water bottles – It takes about 450 years for that small plastic bottle to degrade naturally. The UK alone is responsible for 170M tons of waste each year and landfills cannot cope.
While plastics serve a purpose when recycled, very little of it actually is. It is estimated that only 1/3 of all plastics are recycled globally. The remaining 2/3’s are tossed into bins destined for landfill. Landfills cannot hold an unlimited amount of waste but that’s exactly what convenience culture is expecting them to do.
It’s not just plastics that make up this problem. Lets take your average paper coffee cup. While some boast “eco-friendliness” this often means just using 10 to 25% of recycled material. The average paper coffee cup requires 33g of wood, 4.1g of petroleum, 1.8g of assorted chemicals, 650 BTU of energy, and nearly 4 litres of water to create. This is an astronomical amount of resources going into the creation of one simple coffee cup made to be thrown away. With these resources come water wasting, pollution, deforestation, and yet more landfill.
Human Responsibility In Curbing The Environmental Impact Of Convenience Culture
With every disposable paper coffee cup you don’t use you save all of those resources.
Every bottle of water in a reusable bottle saves a plastic one from finding itself in landfills or harming wildlife. Manufacturers really ushered in the convenience culture but it’s people who are responsible for telling them no more.
These are just a few products we can use to go about life conveniently without contributing to a harmful disposable world.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ―