The Culture of Replacing

Our current way of life has given us many comfort and pleasure. Nevertheless, the industry of creating products that are easily disposal have shown significant effects on the environment. In the Cradle-to-Cradle reading, the authors highlight the statement that humans are taken natural resources from nature, but rarely putting them back to used them again (McDonough, 2009). This idea comes with the notion that consumerism is intrinsically linked to the economic, cultural and social system of today. I agree with this opinion, and will expand this idea including some own examples of habits as prove of this problem. 

Since the Industrial Revolution made modifications in society happen; the mode of consuming persists, mass producing and commercial practices were increased, advances on Western World models expand globally. In the mid-twentieth century, the culture of replacing instated of repairing or reusing was established (McDonough, 2009). Nowadays, I live in an era where is believe that every new device is created to be disposal. Additionally, food and energy look like have no limits, and therefore I can use as much as I can. My current life demonstrates how easy and without remorse is to get rid of something.  

This culture is exacerbated, in terms of waste, by the extreme consumption of packing products and the assumption that after a good gets broken or is no longer the latest version, is easier and better to throw it away than repairing or give it back to the manufacturer (McDonough, 2009). In my department, I am surprised by the level of garbage that my roommate and I produce, even if we just expend a few hours a day there. For example, preparing food for dinner for one person can lead to filling a garbage bag full of envelopes, packages, cartons, organic waste. On the other hand, my desires to have the latest technology model, because I suppose will give more advanced features than the previous one, brings me to change phones every couple of years, other devices like a computer every three or four years, but pattern is always the same.

Finally, one last review of the topic from the third reading, “Airspace: The Economies & Ecologies of Landfilling in Michigan”. The idea that our waste is always someone else problem, that is to say, the Cradle-to-Grave model is being perpetuated (Bélanger, 2006). It appears that our waste could it be always treated. It doesn’t matter if is some other State or Country problem, the average citizen is freed from all responsibility once the waste ends up in an external container, which leads to the wrong idea that these landfills, like any other raw material, are unlimited.


McDonough, William, and Michael Braungart. 2009. Cradle to cradle: remaking the way we make things. London: Vintage. – Chapters: 01. A question of Design (pg. 17 – 44) and 04. Waste equals Food (pg. 92 – 117)

Pierre Bélanger. “Airspace: The Economies & Ecologies of Landfilling in Michigan.” Trash. Ed. John Knechtel. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. 132-155.


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