Thursday, January 22, 2009

Designed for landfills

Did you know each year nearly 246 million tons of waste from our homes and communities goes to the landfills?
And to bury this waste there are about 3,091 active landfills and over 10,000 old municipal landfills.

Just thinking about so much garbage make shivers run down my spine.

What were the designers thinking when they designed all these products? Carpets, diapers, furniture, clothes, shoes, TV, laptops, toys... the list is endless. Just on my table I can see dozens of such things: picture frame, lamp, bulb, glass, mug, books, laptop, tissue.

Ever heard of the printer, microwave or any machine coming with a note saying " Please mail us back this machine for Eco-friendly disposal". And why not? Shouldn't they be taking onus of what they started in the first place?

Design should not be against or in spite of nature. Design should be inspired from nature. And design should eliminate the concept of waste completely. Things should be created for long term use.
We are easily capable of producing stuff that is durable, reliable, useful and lasting enough to give years of great service.

But what does really happen around us? Constantly we are bombarded with messages that tell us what we have currently is not good enough. We need the new and improved with added features and more options. Old is out, new is in!!!. This cycle consumes energy, resources and a chunk of our money on its brief trip from factory to landfill.

Razor blades are a classic example. It seems that for most men with average facial hair one blade gives 10-15 shaves per blade and then the blade goes to the trash. One would think that razor companies like Gillette would find ways to elongate the life of the blade. But what they end up doing is increasing the number of blades and recommend changing blades frequently for a better shave!!!

For crying out loud did they ever hear about landfills?

Like the Hippocratic oath taken by physicians (pertaining to the ethical practice of medicine
) all designers should be made to take an oath: To honor the earth and its systems, to abstain from making anything that in any way harms or endangers the present or the future, to be aware of any short term or long term consequences of any of their activities, to never forget the interdependence of humans on the natural world, to be always mindful of the finiteness of resources and pledge never to waste any.

No comments:

Post a Comment