It’s not a surprise that there is so much resistance to the thought of cultural overhaul. On the individual level, we will be required to make sweeping changes to the way in which we interact with the objects in our lives.
Post WWII it was marketed as Un-American to be thrifty and to save and reuse objects— the priority was to create jobs and to keep the working class working,. Manufacturers prioritized the efficiency of production without consideration of how industry’s wastefulness was being offset by nature.
We can see by the massive amounts of landfills and the overabundance of garbage that this style of mass consumption is not a system that can continue much longer. We are swimming in garbage.
And that is by design— the polymer industry needed a way to boost production and profit and so plastics were pushed as disposable. Not only did they need to design products that would need to be continually purchased, but they needed to design a consumer culture. Millions of dollars of advertising money went into creating fake needs that new products could fill. They weren’t designing objects meant for life, they were in the business of creating garbage.
Needless to say it was a successful venture. Check out the below illustration of the number of landfills that popped up in the last 50, 30, 20 years as a response to consumer culture.
How do advertisers effectively sell objects? By creating lack. Intentionally creating a hole that needs to be filled, glamorizing the satisfaction of the act of consuming.