Consumer Society

An consumer society is a society in which people are encouraged to buy new good, 
some of which they do not need and where ownership of these goods are considered 
to be an important part of their lives. It isn’t easy to try and put a value on 
rubbish. It depends on its desirability and whether it is of any use to us; “one 
man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. 

We are becoming more aware of how our wastefulness especially in more affluent 
countries is having an impact on our planet and its ecosystem. The GFN (Global 
Footprint Network 2008a; nef, 2008) estimates in 2008 humankind was using up the 
biological capacity of 1.4 planet Earths – 40% greater than the annual resources 
of Earth.  In 2005 it was 30%. A report The Food We Waste (WRAP, 2008a, 2008b) 
states that at least a third of food bought in the UK every year is thrown away, 
approx 6.7 million tonnes of food. Sixty one per cent of the food thrown away 
could be avoided with better food management i.e. not cooking more than is going 
to be eaten. This costs the average household £420 per annum. In recent years 
household waste in the UK has increased. In 2006/07 rubbish for each UK resident 
was 508kg compared to 397kg 1983/84 (Defra, 2007). An article by Richard Alleyne 
(Telegraph October 2007) claims that cooking with leftovers is one of the 
earliest arts of recycling and needs to be rediscovered to help save the 
environment. WRAP is quoted as saying that discarded food is a bigger problem 
than packaging as the food supply chain accounts for a fifth of the UK carbon 
emissions and decomposing food releases methane the most potent form of 
greenhouse gases. In similar ways unwanted clothes and unwanted furniture have 
now started to be recycled on websites like EBay where people sell on their 
unwanted things or Freecycle site which enables people to advertise the items 
which are free to whoever wants them. Junk Art is another way of using rubbish, 
turning it into...