Slow Knowledge

throwaway society

The economic boom following the austerity measures during the Second World War inspired families in Western Europe and North America to accumulate more diverse material assets, which resulted in the formation of what is today called consumer society. In order to drive continued economic growth and increase profits, companies have, over time, encouraged the population to buy disposables instead of durable goods and to replace their defective items and household appliances with new ones.
Whilst an article in Live magazine entitled Throwaway Society in 1955 welcomed the appearance of disposable items as a modern innovation to ease the burden of everyday life, today more and more people are re-evaluating our wasteful way of life.

Today’s consumer behaviour has reached a point at which we purchase new products or replace old ones in advance of real needs. Our useless items that we are bored with are mostly a burden on our environment as non-recyclable, often polluting, waste. All this is supported by our economic system, e.g. by the planned obsolescence of electronic devices or fast-changing fashion trends.

Our wasteful economic system is also affecting the food industry. According to statistical statements, 40% of food produced or imported in the United States is discarded.