Consumerism can be said to be an economic and social order which promotes the buying of services and goods in intensively ever-greater quantity. Taking an economic perspective, it refers to the economic policies that hugely emphasises on consumption trends. In a conceptual sense, it can be the deliberation that consumers free choice should greatly adjust the choice of what’s produced and also how. It is undeniable that the economic-structure organization of our society is subconsciously propelled by an urge for domination, survival, and also expansion.
The society that we have is faced with a myriad of challenges in existence, the avalanche of landfills and garbage being among them is in a soaring state. This can be attributed to the high population, for example in the U.S.A having a population of about 317millon people can lead to huge amounts of waste generated (Juliana, 87). This does not necessarily vindicate them to be a wasteful and throwaway society. It can be also be caused by the production of inferior quality products, by producing large amounts of products that does not meet the expectations of the consumers, it can subsequently lead to the mass disposal of the faulty products bought and thus cause huge amounts of garbage quantity and what will be seen as wasteful. Best quality products are not wasted and if an emphasis on quality is ensured in the production of goods lesser unnecessary wastages can be witnessed and this will ensure sustainability in the resources available in society.
Populations in countries that are undergoing speedy evolution are witnessing a nutritional transition. This transition mainly caused by the consumer characteristics and differences in the social-demographic sphere has its varied pros and cons. Our society can precisely be described as being well planned for and efficient, but not wasteful. A lot of preservation means have been developed in both packaging and preservation, in the long run preservation in achieved and resource conservation is achieved effectively without while minimizing the wastages. However, the lifestyle has changed due to Urbanization leading to junk food been a popular trend which has been facilitated by the intense marketing of the food industry, trade liberalization policies and the general busy lifestyle in the society. This can foster large amounts of waste production and a possible cause of pollution if not well mitigated.
It is in our nature to oppose a throwaway society whereby we use effective activism in our day to day life and also in the business lifestyle. Mostly, it is seen that the throwaway attitude and mind-set is clearly interconnected with an element of merchandise extravagant use. However, the manifestation of this menacing ethic can clearly be outlined in lesser categories. Goods and products are bought, then after being used short period they are rendered useless, mainly because they have become outmoded. A lot of functional and even other items that are precious find themselves discarded, and replaced by fresh ones which are obtained to immediately swap them. Sadly, when all this devastation to our land takes place and worse of all dissipate the natural resources available, a larger portion of the people still tends to be devoid of the resources. By not being efficiently grateful and recognizing the valuable worth of the obsolete items, this throwaway tendency provides an ineffectual system of provision whereby many citizens are faced with serious lack, while most landfills flourish (Heather, p121).
Whether we live in a throwaway society or not are issues of discussion that holds varied opinions and viewpoints among scholars however, waste production is inevitable as consumption is in society. What is important is on upholding the value of sustainable resource use and production of resources. To ensure sustainable development which is meeting the present needs without compromising the ability of the future generations should be closely observed and embraced in the people's attitudes and lifestyle. The disposed garbage and waste produced do not bring only doom and gloom but is an opportunity to the society at large because it creates employment and business opportunities in recycling of the garbage. With recycling resources can be well prevented from depletion and also the harmful impacts are eliminated (Juliana, 34).
In recent times, due to more income by the society and the improved living standards, expenditure and consumption are equivalently high. Packaged foods and canned foods are now more extensively accessible now than in the past years, so this has attributed to disposable packaging everywhere (Anne, 77). The scientific and greatly industrialized world has led to the emergence of new kinds of garbage which is the e-waste. According to the German newspaper known as Die Welt, it stated that around 9 million autos tend to be scrapped off annually in the sphere of E.U. Their effective and safe disposal is by any means not an easy task. The reason for this incapacity to handle such wastes is because of the lack of appropriate measures to regulate them in terms of policy framework and legislation to control it.
Consumerism society in general nowadays strives for a better living standard and lifestyle. It is in this society where numerous technological improvements have rapidly erupted and with the trend of everybody seeking to update themselves towards the most recent items trying to reach a high living standard. However, sumptuousness wants seems to never end. At any time when a novel model emerges in the market, the past older belongings of the particular product become obsolete and unwanted. As an outcome, many previously acquired models tend to be disposed instead of actually recycling them. According to a research study conducted by the Environment Canada, an estimate of 81,000 tons got disposed of telecom equipment and IT in the year 2002. This included a 70% being monitors and computers of the total. The study anticipated that the overall disposal of waste in IT would be on an increase to about 91,000 tons or more in the near future (Tim, 58).
The trend that is most impactful to society is on the universality and Integration and one of the simplest to witness. This is mainly caused by the consumerism nature of society. The natural advancement of equipment for example the mobile phone is to make a multi-purpose device which will be in a capacity to do and conduct everything that is possibly wanted. Even after all the incorporation of the available technologies tends to be complete, this apparent paradigm will however persist because there is never short of novel technological advancements. As an important part of universality and integration, the mentality and culture of a throwaway society emerge in place and people tend to excessively purchase products. Old technology for instance is shipped to developing countries where it is sold at a cheap price. This nature of universality tends not only to apply to services and products but also practices and policies.
In many cases, consumerism is normally described as the propensity of the populace to strongly identify with services and products which they consume that have a perceived appeal. Opponents and critics of consumerism do argue that numerous unnecessary luxury consumer products behave as a social means that allows individuals to identify and categorize like-minded people by displaying similar products, with the aim of judging the social stratification and the subsequent status of the individual economy and societal ranking.
Apparently not all the anti-consumerists in entirety do strongly oppose consumption, but their argument tends to be against escalating the present use of the resources beyond elasticity that is the limit to sustainability (Crewe, p.15). A throwaway society is a generalised term because a large population may be living in a state of lack and in poverty which only a very small proportion of the populace are capable to live in the state of excesses and indulgence in luxury. Having already looked at the population factor in assessing the population wastefulness, it is now simpler to understand that some select few can be wasteful while the others are not and still the statistics show that the wastefulness in that particular society is immense. Also, we cannot rule out that the society has elements of wastefulness and thus considered a throwaway society.
Sustainable consumption however will be improbable in effectively reaching it if the waste generated quantity of households in industrialized nations rise. A factor which underlies this general trend is the household goods life span. In avoiding wastages and the throw away perception and mentality and also the likewise menace of landfills, incorporation of life-cycle assessment can be used by stressing the importance of product and goods life-spans in sustainable utilization and investigating the present situation of research. It is seen that by adding to effectiveness and adequacy greater product and goods life spans can ensure effective progress and growth towards consumption that is sustainable in nature. Empirical study conducted in Europe, specifically the United Kingdom, regarding consumer behaviours and attitudes concerning the product life spans of the household products and reviewing factors which pressure the market in efforts of having products that are longer-lasting (Helene, p.13). Sustainable consumption should be upheld in society without considering the factor of the level of economic empowerment.
A capitalist economy brings about this ‘moreness’ psychology, recklessly indulging the acquisitive impulse. The advertising media is responsible for fostering a consumerism attitude and consequently the throw away nature of some societies. We cannot deny that the luxuries are now perceived as necessities and if this trend continues a madness of living in excesses will be like a double edged sword slaying everyone with no exception. Science is claiming that in the recent times environmental degradation has become rampant leading to global warming and its treacherous impacts to mankind and the environment. The societal fabric should uphold ethics in all its activities and by observing ethical values unnecessary wastages will be combated and those lacking the resources will be given. However, a throw away perception seem only relevant or is noticed by the person who identify the waste but not the one who no longer needs the resource and dispose it.
Needs vary among different people and it is for this reason that we should accept that everyone can never be the same, it is this diversity that dictates the consumption of products. The consumption levels are never proportional to the satisfaction and self-actualization levels. Therefore in dictating whether a society is a throw away or not, many other factors are blindly omitted and can lead to grossly misleading information.
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