Materials, Waste, and Sustainability

Over the years, humankind has taken advantage of the planet and the resources that it offers. People don’t realize how they are impacting the world on a global scale. Part of the problem is the fact that consumers have been raised to seek out the best, the biggest, and the newest. The article, “Wasteful Scandinavians,” emphasizes how recycling has increased; however, it also notes how people are also using more. Although it is important to continue to recycle, the problem of excessive waste is rooted even before consumers feel the need to through things out. The article, “Yes We Can. But Should We?” accurately identifies this problem because many products on the market today are novel but they aren’t completely necessary. Companies frequently produce goods that can only be used in very specific situations or that do the same thing as other products but are labeled “new.” Mobile phones are a great example of this because companies like Apple come out with a new phone every year but there are hardly any new features and consumers usually already have a perfectly good phone that doesn’t need to be replaced. Society has also become accustomed to throwing out goods when they stop working and buying the item new. Historically, when a product stops working, owners would attempt to repair the object before giving up on it. This not only discourages useless spending or replacement of working products, but also reduces the amount of waste in the world. It is very important for designers to consider how the things they make impact the world and how innovative/necessary they are.

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