Longer lasting lifestyles

This weekend, no doubt, will be no different to any other weekend. By that I mean I am sure I will pop to the shops to buy something that I really do not need.

Britain truly is a consumer society and our appetite for purchasing goods - whether it is clothes, gadgets or food is insatiable.

Households in this country are locked into a consumer psyche, which like some hypnotic trance makes us willing participants in a 'throwaway society'.

Some smart Alec somewhere came to the sobering conclusion that we'd need the equivalent of three planets if all societies led lifestyles like ours in the UK.

Despite our best intentions, British consumers throw away millions of tonnes of consumer durables every year.

Now, countries like China and India, with their rapidly growing populations, have picked up our consumer blueprint and are running with it wholeheartedly, with potentially devastating consequences for the world's resources.

Increasingly, the 'P' word is being bandied around by commentators. 'P' stands for prevention in relation to waste. With resource scarcity visible on the not-too-distant horizon, designing waste out of products and recycling materials is going to be essential to our long-term survival.

A new book I stumbled across recently - 'Longer Lasting Products: Alternatives to the Throwaway Society', explores this issue in great detail.

A hefty volume, it's not a book I would recommend for bed-time reading but to cut to the chase, one of its main conclusions is that consumers are going to have to shift their values and behaviour, alongside marketing and design strategies, if we are ever going to lead sustainable lives. We can't simply carry on blindly in denial.

Perhaps, I'll think twice about spending my hard-earned cash this weekend on that microwave that I don't really need.

Nick Warburton

Topics: edie
Tags: | food
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