Throwaway Culture

Earlier today I spent over half an hour queuing to get into our local tip (dumpit site). I was throwing away quite a lot of carboard and some unused wood from our new kitchen installation. My little wait at the tip got me thinking …

We’re now a very large throwaway culture here in the UK. It seems to me that we produce things merely for the sole purpose of being used to throw it out again. Ok, a lot of stuff we throw away is packaging, which keeps things together whilst we take items home, but is there any way we can do without it?

Our new kitchen is from Ikea. The packaging I was throwing away today, is Ikea packaging, as well as unwanted shelves and screw fittings. Most of the other people in the queue for the tip were throwing away things they no longer needed. What can be done?

  1. How about if Ikea had a scheme where I could take the cardboard packaging and unwanted items back to them? They could reuse them again, and would save resources.
  2. We had a cooker delivered for our new kitchen, and they took the old cooker away. How about unpacking the new cooker and taking the packaging away too? The same can apply to tv’s, computers and other stuff we replace on a regular basis.
  3. Software is still boxed, and has endless pieces of paper in the boxes, when it’s stocked at PC World. Why not ditch the boxes, and put the software on USB sticks? The customer can reuse the USB sticks to store backups of their documents on (which might prompt us to back our files up more often), and they can carry their documents with them to use on work/home PC’s. I know software CDs don’t take up a lot of space, but the boxes they come in do! (Downloading software from the internet solves this, but I still think a USB stick is a better idea).

We need a better approach to the throwaway culture that we’re developing. Recycling helps, but more can be done by manufacturers to help the situation too.

Adrian