What I’ve Learned

Throughout this class I have been studying the topic of post-consumer waste. I have learned that this issue is incredibly important due to the fact that we are a consumer-based society, meaning we live to buy, use, and throw away. This only becomes an issue when you couple it with the fact that many people do not dispose of their consumer goods properly, efficiently, or sustainably. It’s a tricky problem to solve because there is no way to automatically change the way of life of millions of people. People will only change their way of life (i.e. how they dispose of goods regarding the environment) once their own personal pursuit of happiness is threatened.

The poverty reading taught me a lot about how our personal bad habits when it comes to sustainability can affect the lives of those who live in poor areas. We don’t realize how our actions could potentially threaten the lives of people thousands of miles away. It also brought to light how our impact on the environment destroys those poor areas.

In Leyla’s TED talk she discusses how everything comes from the environment, but it’s what we crate out of it and how we use it and dispose of it that ultimately effects the environment. She came to the conclusion that neither paper or plastic is the better option. Neither are biodegradable, but for some reason we’ve been taught that one is superior than the other in terms of sustainability.

Merchandising and sustainability go hand in hand in my opinion. Merchandising is creating and selling good for consumers, and sustainability is the act of disposing it in a way that doesn’t harm our environment. In order to solve sustainability issues we need to first find better solutions to the flawed merchandising systems.

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