Slice of Life Tuesday: Thoughts on Waste

Recently, my son bought an iPad for his artwork. It was part of a deal we made when he agreed to create a mural on the outside wall of a business as a school project this fall. As the mural was completed, he asked again about the iPad. So, last Monday night we went out and purchased a new iPad for him, complete with a pen so that he can use it to aide his sketches for future projects.  His oldest brother also uses one at college to take notes in class and have them automatically saved. So, for a student that is somewhat disorganized with his class notes, that might be a future use for this device. Additionally, this was his first “computer” purchase, having used an old, but huge,  cast-off Toshiba laptop from his middle brother for the last two years.  It’s not like we are buying pieces of technology right and left, either. We use things until they “die” and do not purchase a device just to have the newest version. But, this is exactly what ensued last week, and we found that there are some “hidden” factors we did not consider.

As we purchased the iPad, I brought up the need for a case. It was the “newest version” of the iPad (7), and only what they had in stock at the current time. The price was the same as what we had seen for the last version (6). So we bought it. Now, I have to back up and tell you that he was given a case for his birthday by his oldest brother in preparation for getting a new iPad (6). What we found upon purchase, of course, was that the new version is a slightly different size than the last. So the brand new case he has will not fit the new iPad. Cases run about $50.00.

This is capitalism functioning at its very best. Of course, you need to purchase yet another case to fit any new device because the manufacturer automatically changes the size, forcing your hand to do so. Then, what happens to the old case? Of course, it gets pitched! I think that this is contributing so much to our waste problems in first world countries.

Why make things a new size when all the accessories people have bought would still work if things were made with the same dimensions? It is called money making! It is sad that we all contribute to this to a certain degree. To deal with this issue in a sustainable way, we will try to return or sell the case for the iPad 6 or maybe give it back to his brother for an “extra.” But, I can assure you, it will not be thrown out!

This got me thinking of all the things we could do to diminish waste in our world – particularly waste from technology and waste from plastics. Having spent the weekend before the iPad purchase in a hotel, I was got to thinking about the individual toiletries that are placed in the bathrooms for convenience. This is wasteful. Hotels should stop providing these to patrons. Thousands upon thousands of “little” plastic bottles would be saved from polluting our environment.  I know I enjoyed this convenience but since it was never “enough” for our entire family to use, I began bringing my own toiletries. AND, not using what is provided. At least the toiletries can wait on the counter to be used by another person before they are thrown away.

All in all, I think it would be nice if the manufacturers of technology would stop changing the sizes of devices when updating and hotels would provide common – multi-use shampoo dispensers in their showers.  These two changes, alone, would save so much waste from entering our environment. Unfortunately, it will probably take legislation to get it done.

How about it? Would you be supportive of something like that? How do you work to reduce environmental waste?

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday!  This writing forum is hosted by TwoWritingTeacher.org. Thank you to this group of educators for offering a supportive and welcoming environment in which others can share their thoughts and writing!

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2 Thoughts

  1. I’m with you, trying to waste less. A hotel I stayed in the past couple of years did have soap and shampoo dispensers in the shower, and I do not remember what hotel it was. I usually take the little bottles home for use at the gym or to take on other travels, but you are certainly right about all the wastefulness built into our consumer society. Even back in the 1950s, my father called it “planned obsolescence.” I try to reuse or donate as much as I can, carry a bag to the store and tell the cashiers I don’t need another bag. As individuals we can help, but the whole system has to change, and that will take an enormous amount of persuasion. Keep up your good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My husband just returned from Germany and said the hotel had a common soap dispenser in the shower there. I totally agree with the system needing to change. We can all try and do our part (and should not stop) but until the system changes, we’ll continue to have waste issues. I love the term your father used – smart man! Thanks for your comments!

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