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tma02

By rxparry May 26, 2014 1361 Words
When one discusses rubbish the conclusion is often that it is worthless, and therefore disvalued. This essay will explain how rubbish is not worthless to different types of people and businesses . There must be certain factors for things to be considered ‘rubbish’ by society. These can include it being seen as broken, old, not needed or simply not wanted anymore. Though there may be some truth behind certain items being considered rubbish, such as broken, that item can still have value to another, so would not be considered as rubbish . Rubbish is commonly defined as something which has no worth ; it is what nobody wants, it is disvalued, so it is worthless and has zero value. This may be seen by many in society as the norm, value has a number of meanings. “A complex term that can refer to how useful something is, or the extent to which something is regarded as worthwhile, or the extent to which it can command a price. It can also refer to a ‘norm or principle of what is right and wrong ” (Taylor et al., 2009, p. 105 ) . Items don’t simply have value by virtue of their physical properties, they have value because people value them . Technology has and continues to grow rapidly and existing products evolve or new products are created, with growth of mass consumption and rising affluence people can afford to upgrade their products and old necessities, such as a TV, would now become rubbish, because it isn’t the new model, which could be defined as a luxury item. From 1957 to 2006 food expenditure more than halved this was because the rest of the income was spent on ‘non necessities’ (ONS, cited in Brown, 2008, p.110) which is why this explains that rubbish isn’t worthless . In addition, there has also been “ economy wide shifts between labour intensive and labour saving technologies” this is a result of less domestic work being undertaken due to “changing gender roles” with “less mending, darning and basic cooking ” being done (Taylor et al., 2009, p. 112 ). Rubbish can be seen as not worthless because the older products may not have anything wrong with them and before the technological advance these products would have had a ‘use value’ to them but because new products have arisen it doesn’t mean that they are not useable anymore, they are just upgraded and become rubbish, but this does not mean that they are worthless . Many people in today’s society are guilty of wastefulness; it is a statistical fact that there has been a rise in the food that we waste. Each year 6.7 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK. This poses the question, why do we waste so much food? Is it due to the mass variety of food available in supermarkets today, accompanied with the rise in affluence? Some may waste food due to a lack of time management, others may buy items that they do not necessarily need, because they were on offer Waste is an economic cost and a social issue. Many people have different values of waste. Some may have a garage full of what they value to be rubbish or junk, but what is its value in scrap? What was perceived as rubbish to the owner could be perceived as valuable to perhaps a scrap metal company? This is a clear example of how some value and some don’t, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure Recycling items in the home is another discussion for why rubbish is not worthless. As Taylor et al state (Taylor et al., 2009, p. 119) recycling can “ give new value to rubbish and waste by producing outputs that have positive value; that is, positive prices .” The majority of people in today’s society recycle, glass bottles, plastic bottles, newspapers to name but a few, however many people would define these items as rubbish. Recycling creates a demand, many recycling businesses exist today, that make money out of other peoples rubbish, and items from tin cans to newspaper are being recycled back into society . This is not done just through recycling. Perhaps items at home have become of no value such as old or broken electrical goods, seen as worthless and of negative value as you have to give up your own time in order to dispose of them , for example, taking an old TV to the rubbish tip. This rubbish does have potential value to others, and could become profitable. “The old saying ‘where there’s muck, there’s brass’ still has some truth. These businesses turn rubbish into something of value either by resale, repair or by transforming the items into new materials that can be reused. “They do this by transforming it into saleable products or by moving it elsewhere for disposal” (Taylor et al., 2009, p. 119) Clothing is often seen as rubbish, whether it be because it is seen as out of fashion or old, damaged, too small or too big, clothing is often thrown away thought to be rubbish and of no value. There are however, businesses that see old items of clothing as valuable, clothing banks for example would make a profit from old clothing seen by many as worthless. Items such as clothing, books, board games, that are seen by many as worthless or as rubbish could be donated to charity. These items would then become of worth and of value to others if sold on to the benefit of a charitable organisation both to the person who they resold to and to the cause that benefits from the charities profit . Recycling of goods or charity donation also has an impact on the environment, the more people recycle their old goods that they may have not valued, could mean that less production of these items are required. Often the cost of rubbish disposal can be much more than to recycle or donate to charity. As Taylor et al 2009 p119, state “it may even have ‘negative value’, in that disposing of it costs time and money.” This could be due to transport costs, disposal costs and costs associated with the person’s time . Thompson’s theory, (Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value (1979 ) describes how rubbish is merely a categorisation stage of a process that involves “creation, destruction and remaking of value” (Taylor et al., 2009, p. 125) It suggests that what constitutes as rubbish is determined by economic and social factors that drive demand and supply, and that some items move from a transient category to the durable category, meaning that the value of the rubbish will fall, it will then be attributed a zero value before rising in value and being classed as durable . An example could be a discarded painting, this item could have been perceived as of no value to the original owner, but could eventually then become more valuable if the artist became successful and the painting became a collectors item, it would then move to what Thompson terms the “durable” category as the value has increased over time . Therefore this adds further argument that rubbish is not worthless as it can become more valuable over time in some scenarios. To conclude, this essay has discussed in detail why rubbish is not worthless. All rubbish has a positive or negative value. An item initially defined as rubbish may over time become priceless due to social and economic factors according to Thompson’s theory as it becomes “durable.” Evolving technology, a rise in affluence, supermarket growth has contributed to a growth in rubbish. As a result of this, the perception in today’s society is that goods that have been bought cheaply in supermarkets are not the latest model due to technological advances and clothes or goods that have simply just gone out of fashion, are worthless. However, these items if disposed of a different way such as recycled, donated to charity or simply resold to businesses or people who hold worth not only can rubbish disposal be more cost effective but rubbish can be of great value to society, as to these items can have positive effects on the economy, reduce environmental sustainability and assist people in need .

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