00968005.JPGBy Peter Galuszka

As the holidays approach, what happens to the gifts after you give them?

Many end up in the trash.

I pondered those questions in the December issue of the Chesterfield and Henrico Monthlies. It deals with a polyglot of forces including the planned obsolescence of many goods, especially electronics, global trade cycles, and, most important of all, how Virginia communities deal with disposing of their gifts once they are no longer the latest “in” thing?

“The Throwaway Society” dates back maybe 70 or more years. It is not a new concept at all and it actually hit its prime in the 1940s when it was popularized by the very same industrial designer who gave us the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Oscar-mayer-wienermobile600Today, the cycle often begins at a Chinese wharf and circumnavigates the world. Playing integral roles are lowly county dumps and the companies they hire to recycle what they can and dispose of hazardous materials found in virtually anything electronic.

It’s an off-beat story but it may be a fun read.

Not to spoil your Christmas or anything.

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4 responses to “Our Throwaway Culture”

  1. recycling and landfill use is a big issues these days!

    I’m particularly interested in a recent innovation (I think recent) called single-stream recycling which our county just went to.

    we used to have separate containers for cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum and now ALL of it goes into one bin which I am told actually has a market price.

    additional – the more of this we create – the less we put into an EPA-certified landfill which are not cheap these days.

    finally, Goodwill up in our area has opened a dozen stores and has deployed dozens of parked tractor trailers staffed with folks to accept everything from gas grills to bikes.

    Churches take things like old TVs and microwaves and sell them super cheap – which the less fortunate highly prize…

    there was a time when yahoos were “skeptics” of recycling and heaped blame on the EPA for requiring those landfill liners.. no more.. but they really did not become “believers” – they just found others things to be “skeptics” of and of course if you ask them now – they were ALWAYS “believers” about recycling!

  2. The Fair Tax greatly discourages the throw-away culture because it taxes only new items. (It is a sales tax on all new items. It would replace all other taxes, including the Income Tax.) The repair business would boom, as would the resourcefulness of owners who would learn how to fix the products. Domestic business would improve greatly because exporting services is nearly impossible. I don’t understand why those concerned about the environment do not vigorously endorse the Fair Tax.

    1. Okay – let’s get t the awful truth here – how many of YOU STILL HAVE Floppy Discs?

      super duper bonus question – for those of you who are still keeping them..



      super dooper bonus question number 2 –

      can you NOT actually put them in the trash?

      super dooper bonus question number 3 –

      why can’t you put them in the trash?

      alright – now fess up.. let’s hear some honest answers.

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