Throw away culture is rife within our modern society and is very normalised as 'trends' come and go constantly. The act itself consists of throwing household utensils/clothing pieces out after a single use. It can also include items that end up in landfills after a very short period of time.
There are a multitude of sectors that fuel this culture, including fast fashion, construction, houseware alongside the coffee and beverage industry. The most potent sector is the fast fashion industry. Most fashion brands do produce seasonal lines however with fast fashion lines/collections are pumped out at a rapid pace, a note to add is most of these collections are based on trends.
Trends are mainly short lived leaving these 'trendy' pieces to be worn once and then added to landfill. Fast fashion approximately produces 92 million tons of waste annually on a global scale.
Overconsumption similar to throw away culture, has the same beliefs that clothing should not be timeless but switched out at the tap of a screen. The act of overconsumption is consuming resources that we cannot replenish or that cannot sustain themselves at the rate we globally consume them.
It is easier than ever in the digital age as we are constantly exposed to fashion websites and apps with millions of cheaply priced and made clothes available with 'free next day delivery'. This constant over exposure desensitises us to the abnormal shopping cycles we now have in the 21st century.
The US population is 60% larger than it was in 1970, but consumer spending is up 400% other nations, including the UK, aren’t much better. Lockdown had a massive impact on consumers and their buying habits, the world stopped and had nothing else to do so what did we do? turn to buying things online to fill the void. Amazon alone had a global revenue of $386bn in 2020. There was a widespread shift and rethink in why we buy and wear things.
“Many people would like to see the world consume fewer resources, yet we constantly avoid the most obvious means of achieving that, When people buy less stuff, you get immediate drops in emissions, resource consumption and pollution, unlike anything we’ve achieved with green technology.” (JB MacKinnon)
Metal is the most commonly used resource In the world. It is used in homes, transport, buildings and items we use on a day to day basis. The production of mined metal is expected to increase by 250% by 2030 due to gross demand.
Metal mining destroys the ecosystem, produces air pollution, the oil and chemicals used often spill and contaminate the natural surroundings, and acid mine drainage takes thousands of years. 20% of the world’s population is responsible for the consumption of 80% of the planet’s resources, and humans today extract and use around 50% more natural resources than 30 years ago.
We are devouring the planets resources at a faster rate than it can regenerate, 1.7 faster to be exact. The detrimental effects of these actions include ecosystems unable to cope resulting in biodiversity loss and deterioration of the natural world.
Though we can not fully reverse the detrimental damage on the planet over consumption has caused we can adopt a sustain lifestyle and changes to help prevent further the damage on the planet. For example, buying wisely.
This means holding more value in your clothing instead of buying a new wardrobe every week. Tying in with buying less, swapping, donating or selling helps kill the cradle to grave cycle. Supporting smaller sustainable brands also largely promotes a sustainable message.
Walking or buying also reduces traffic congestion and reduce air pollution and growing your own vegetables also reduces mass food wastage and plastic usage from supermarkets. These are small things that can help boost a positive approach to climate change and global warming, however more people need a thorough understanding of the detrimental effects over consumption and mass production has on our planet to fully comprehend how important these small changes can be.