I. We're a nation of consumers exploited by deceptive marketing ploys that compete for our every dollar.
a. According to the MAGNA ‘US Forecast Update March 2017' the advertising industry spent 180 billion dollars marketing everything from presidential candidates to cars and beauty products.
b. Companies mass produce products overseas which using cheap parts that often don't last very long, causing us to have to purchase a replacement, creating a perpetual cycle known as planned obsolescence.
II. In the book ‘Affluenza: How Overconsumption Is Killing Us and How to Fight Back' Affluenza is defined as a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more.
a. As a society, we're consumed with wanting more whether it's the latest model or the newest hot item.
b. Our consumerism leads to pollution, depletion of our resources, and mass quantities of waste.
III. We have become a very wasteful society where it seems as if everything is disposable; as a society, we need to be conscious of just how much waste we produce and what we are able to do to reduce that amount to protect our environment.
I. The Environmental Protection Agency released the ‘Advancing Sustaining Materials Management: 2014 Fact Sheet' in November of 2016 and Americans produce 4.4 pounds of trash every single day.
a. After recycling, composting and combustion with energy recovery, only 2.3 pounds of our daily trash ends up as waste in a landfill.
b. Nevertheless in 2014, 136 million tons of waste still ended up in a landfill.
II. We all hear we need to recycle. We see labels with the iconic recycling symbol, but if that's all we do we're missing a huge portion of being ethically conscious consumers.
a. The EPA has a ‘Waste Management Hierarchy' and it begins with reducing and reusing what we consume in order to reduce waste.
b. Source reduction not only reduces pollution but saves our natural resources and your money!
c. It goes against American culture to want less, where there's always an ad for the latest gadget or a sale at just about any store.
III. However, we need to change and there's so much we can do to reduce our consumption.
a. I'm not going to try to turn you into a hippie and throw a bunch of radical ideas on how to stop waste altogether, but I do have a few practical tips that we can all incorporate into our daily lives.
b. First, invest in high quality items that are multi-functional and use them for their entire functional life. They will cost more upfront but will last much longer.
c. If there's something you no longer want… like that sweater your grandmother gave you with a hideous picture of a cat on it or old kitchen ware you no longer use, donate it. That way it can continue to be used by someone who may want it without occupying space in a landfill.
d. Pack your lunch!
i. It'll reduce the disposable silverware and packaging from that fast food restaurants.
ii. Purchase or make your own reusable sandwich and snack bags
iii. And don't forget to use a sturdy lunch box (or bag) that will stand up to years of use.
e. Avoid disposable products like water bottles and opt to use a refillable bottle. There are water fountains on campus designed specifically to fill your bottles.
f. Using inexpensive reusable bags at the grocery store or while out shopping can help eliminate the millions of plastic bags that end up in our oceans every year which has a devastating impact on marine life.
I. I would really appreciate if you all did me a huge favor. For the next week, I want you to do 2 things. The first, anytime you purchase something, ask yourself ‘is this a quality item, will it last?'. The second, when you throw something away, look at what your throwing away. Although you're getting rid of it, it will end up somewhere, and if it's plastic it can take 1,000 years to break down.
II. We live in a disposable society where it's easier to replace something that it is to repair it. We no longer take apart our VHS players and tinker with them until we can fix them, or mend clothes because it's easier to just buy a new one and throw the old one away.
III. Come on guys, we only have 1 planet. That means we get 1 shot. There is no back up plan and there's no reset button.
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