How much does consumerism hurt the earth?



  1. 0 Votes

    This is a difficult question to answer. Obviously, plastic packaging, “disposable” paper and styrofoam cups, plastic bags, etc., create huge amounts of waste, as do cheap products such as clothing and electronics which are not built to last and are thrown away fairly quickly. It’s impossible to calculate how much less waste would be created if we tried to create mostly higher-quality, reusable goods, because of course that’s not the world we live in. There will always probably be a demand for quick, cheap, and easy goods — it’s unreasonable to expect people on the go to always have time to prepare a home-cooked meal instead of stopping in at McDonald’s, and sometimes it’s just too expensive to to pick up a higher-quality item, etc. If there were a gradual shift in consumer consciousness whereby these goods were seen more as a stop-gap measure, items to be bought sometimes in certain circumstances but not routinely, it would probably have a major impact on the environment. But until that happens, how can we know the exact numbers?

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