Ramblin’ Man: Throw Away Society


rambling man columnOur society faces some problems! One of the biggest is the amount of waste we produce. Our landscape is overflowing with “waste”. What is waste ? Websters defines waste as (1) using, consuming, or expending thoughtlessly or (2) causing to lose energy, strength or vigor.

I’d like to offer one more definition– waste is an unused resource.
The waste which fills our dumpsters and our lives is actually quite valuable. I know a man who collected peoples “trash” from alleyways in Los Angeles for five years, storing it in a building which was slated for destruction. When LA finally decided to tear down the building he sold all of his “waste” for over a million dollars! Another friend rescued two hydraulic tools from a dumpster and sold them for nearly $72,000 dollars!

On a much smaller scale, I personally have pulled blown amps and old computers from dumpsters and sold them for $100 or more.
The point is, there is enough “waste” in the dumpsters of America to feed, clothe, house, and educate everyone. Why does it happen?
After W.W.II, our wartime factories converted to civilian production, suddenly there was more than we could use. A new society was born. “The throwaway society.” The throwaway society provided maximum employment and plenty of goods and services. Americans had more available through gainful employment and massive production. The key was keeping people spending by creating incentives to buy “new, bigger, better” products instead of keeping trusted ones. We introduced the concept of planned obsolescence.

Some of the drawbacks of “the throwaway society” ? Consumer debt is at an all time high and instead of working less, we’re working more. A family with one income used to be able to own a home, raise children, and enjoy some time at home. Now, it is all we can do to have two incomes pay for a rental home, raise one child, and keep food on the table. Another drawback is obvious, the environment. Look around, anywhere…..

Here’s the key, think about the value of what you’re throwing away….is it trash or is it an unused resource….you wouldn’t throw away cash, would you?