Why do humans waste so much?



  1. 0 Votes

    It is not a human condition. There are societies on earth that live without a lot of waste. Humans evolved over time to have more and more around them and as they amassed more comforts and tools, they became more lazy and more wasteful. Humans in developed worlds are now just used to the lifestyle they have created.

  2. 0 Votes

    Great question. I think waste is something that people have developed as a cultural tendency not as a an evolutarionary trait. Meaning, we are not hard-wired to waste things, in fact I would think it the opposite–that it would be more likely for humans to have evolved to think in systems and use resources wisely as it is in our best interest to do so. However, it is true that time and again, human populations have over exploited the natural resource base upon which they depend. So, perhaps it is because we put little value on the future and the preservation of capital and resources for both ourselves and future generations. So, if waste has developed as a cultural tendency then it means we can also develop a culture in which waste in intolerable and minimized.

  3. 0 Votes

    Humans only waste things that they have plenty of. To illustrate, if we look at the average amount of food thrown away by Americans it would many times more than Ethiopians. People who know where the next good is coming from don’t worry about wasting the one they have. This certainty makes people reckless and careless. On the other hand, uncertainty makes people plan ahead, save for the harder times and generally more level headed. 

  4. 0 Votes

    One of the main reasons is that they don’t see the consequences of their action.  For most people, wasting is just throwing something away into the trash or recycling can.  They don’t get to see where that waste is going or what happens to it.  People just don’t understand the magnitude of waste that they produce because of the fact that they are not exposed to it on a regular basis.  And even if they do have a hint about the magnitude of it, people usually label it as something they have to do as part of their everyday life.

  5. 0 Votes

    Free-rider effect and the tragedy of the commons. Humans will exploit anything that is in abundance or that they believe will presently benefit them. We also have a tendancy to believe that it should be other peoples problem to deal with the environment. Free-riders are those who want the benefit of a healthy environment, but do not want to actually do anything to save the environment. Unfortunately, there are many of these in our world. 

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