Posted by: sweetpea | November 14, 2005

Throwaway society

Back in May when I visited Rhys in London I saw a sculpture called The WEEE Man made of electrical waste.  It really made me think more about the need to reuse and recycle.  It also drew attention to the fact that we now live in a throwaway society.
This was drawn to my attention again on Saturday.
My CD player hasn’t been working for a while, and I’d had a go at cleaning it with my CD cleaning disk, but still it didn’t work.  So Saturday I rang an AV repair man to see if he could fix it.  I suspected it was the laser as this had happened before. I mentioned this to him, and he asked if I’d tried cleaning it, to which I replied ‘Yes, I’m pretty sure it’s clean’.  He said he would have to check whether he could get hold of a new laser for it, but otherwise it would be a simple job.  
I asked if he could give me a rough idea of cost, to which he replied that it was over £40 he’d contact me first before going ahead.  He then asked me how much I’d paid for it and how old it was.  I said I didn’t know but it is probably 5-10years old.  He then commented that it might be more cost effective to buy a new system being as you can get them so cheap these days.  I replied that I’d rather get mine fixed because it works perfectly ok except for the CD player which can be repaired.

This is what the problem is. People just buy new versions when the old breaks down instead of getting them fixed.  And they do this because there are so many cheap models on the market, which don’t last, but they’re cheap so it doesn’t matter.
BUT it does matter because it’s creating more and more electrical waste.

I might be a bit hypocritical here, I’m sure I’ve thrown things away that could be reused etc, but at least I’m consciously making an effort to find other uses for things.  At least I think about the consequences.

As it turns out, I tried cleaning the CD player again last night, but this time I used a cleaning cloth on the lens window thing, and it did the trick 🙂  



  1. Think how many people would throw it away without even trying to _clean_ it first. It is truly scary.

    We had a laugh at lunch-time because we actually bought a new product (a fire poking/sweeping/shovelling set). It had so much packaging in the box… we realised how long it’s been since we bought ‘retail’ goods.

  2. It’s really depressing ain’t it. Bottom line is it’s cheaper to replace than to repair… economies of scale and all that. I can only hope that when the oil runs out it will be an end to air travel and mass transit of goods, and we can all go back to trading turnips with the next village. When that happens I will be a bicycling handyman and will go around the countryside fixing things with leftover paperclips and bits of coat hanger.

  3. Does make you wonder where evolution is going. You’d think it’d work towards improving our species, but instead it’s turning us into the worse possible one, one that destroys it’s own home, and everything else that lives there. I’m sure there aren’t any other creatures on this planet that do that!

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