Consumer Society: Is It a Throw-Away Society?

Pages: 5 (1447 words) Published: June 23, 2013
Essay Plan

Essay question: Explore the claim that a consumer society is always a ‘throw-away’ society.

Word limit: 1250 words

Introduction: 10% of word limit = 125 words
* Answer the question

Body of the essay: 1000 words

* Technology
* Consumption
* Status
* Connected lives

Conclusion: 10% of word limit = 125 words
* Answer the question
* Recap/summarise evidence to prove answer

Explore the claim that a consumer society is always a “throw-away” society.

A Swedish proverb says “don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water.” Most of us are throwing away so much it’s likely that there will be no resources in the future. Our practices are putting a lot of stress on future resources and we might soon find our needs unsatisfied because of our throw-away attitude and careless practices.

There are many reasons as to why we are subject to the jeopardy of a resource-deficient future. One of these is the constant demand for better lifestyles and standards of living. Another reason is our increased consumption of food, products and materials as well as our increased use of items that pollute out environment and make it unsafe for living.

Society nowadays seeks better lifestyles and standards. We live in a society where technological advances have erupted and where everybody seeks towards the latest items attempting to obtain a high standard of living.

However luxury never seems to come to an end. Whenever a new model appears on the market, the older possessions of the same product become unwanted and obsolete. As a result, many earlier acquired models are disposed of instead of being recycled.

A study, commissioned by Environment Canada, estimated that 81,000 tons of IT and telecoms equipment were disposed of in 2002. Computers and monitors accounted for 70% of this total (Statistics Canada).

The study projected that disposal of IT waste would increase to 91,000 tons in 2010. The amount of disposed items is definitely larger now than in 2002, as technology has advanced rapidly within the last decade.

As society promotes better living standards, money is largely being spent on luxuries such as modern phones and modern cars instead of being spent on necessities such as food and shelter.

People have been working for longer hours in order to ensure a high standard of living for themselves and their families. However, they unfortunately do not take into account the amount of money spent on unnecessary products which could have been spent on necessities. The markets today are flooded with cheap, "for single use only" things that are more in demand than high priced quality items. Mind boggling mobile phone accessories that change the look of your handset in the blink of an eye, shoes that quickly come apart at seams, cheap T-shirts that lose color and shape after a single wash and watches that stop telling time before three months are over and yet there is a rush to buy more and more till our houses and wardrobes seem to be overflowing with goods that are more in quantity and less in value. This is due to the fact that we are being persuaded by advertisements, which are mainly used in an attempt to increase profit not enhance the well being of society. Because we’ve been told that disposing items instead of reusing them is better through advertisements, we find it difficult to make a decision towards such a subject. Single-time use items such as disposable nappies; razors; toothbrushes; contact lenses are increasing rapidly in markets, which encourages consumers to throw away such items after only one use increasing consumerism when said items requires replacing. According to DEFRA the graph below shows that the average person in the UK produced approximately 450kg of waste from 2009-2010. If you multiply that by 62 million and you can begin to imagine the amount of rubbish that is thrown away in the UK alone....

References: www.statca.ga.ca/pub/16-002-x/2008001/10539-eng.htm
www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/environment/waste/wrfg04-hhwastrecyc/
www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-286262 Table KS404EW; 2011 Census: Car or van availability, local authorities in England and Wales
Word count: 1248
Self-reflection
What have you particularly enjoyed so far in studying this module?
* Realising the impact media has on my lifestyle choices.
What have you found challenging?
* Writing and following a concise study plan and keeping to the word count.
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