August 14, 2007

Our disposable society

Any ad tagline that ends with “and then just throw it away” makes my skin crawl. Swiffer sweepers – don’t use a broom or vaccuum, wipe the floor with lots of our one time use cloths. Scothbrite toilet bowl scrubbers – Don’t use that brush that will last for years, use our version with one-time use heads and a handle that will probably stop gripping them in a year. The latest irritant is the one-time use toothbrushes (with toothpaste built right in!). One of their testimonials is: “I have a lot of patients ask me, “How am I supposed to brush after every meal when I eat two thirds of my meals out?” That’s when I hand them the SmileSaver brush…we give your brush to all of our patients. I use them myself!” Cindy, Dental Hygienist. Part of their marketing is for people to have one stashed in their briefcase for that “garlic emergency”, but I doubt they will survive without hyping the benefits of not having to carry around that annoying tube of toothpaste.

All this “one-time use” crap has to go somewhere. Seattle already does a decent job of recycling to try to reduce the amount of garbage going to the land fill. Seattle is implementing another recycling program that forces people to recycle food waste in their yard waste can. A great idea and a noble effort, but a loosing battle when consumers keep buying disposable crap. Reducing packaging and our purchase of one-time use products is a much more effective than recycling in shrinking our piles of garbage. It is not just one-time use products that are creating extra waste. Disposable razors have much more plastic than razors that simply change out the head. A lot of these substitutions are easy, if you just keep an eye out for waste.


matt said...

I usually use the same razor for two weeks straight before throwing it out. . . . Only because I am too lazy to go to the hall drawer for a new one. Does that count?

Anonymous said...

Sean, I loved your rant on the disposable society.

I even laughed out loud when reading about the toothpaste one.
I think I laugh because I can't imagine someone having that concern. But they must or we wouldn't have these commercials.

I wonder if our society will ever revolt against these ideas.