class topic: Expired? Food waste in America by Rebecca Richman Cohen
I personally believe that Western society has an epidemic of overconsumption. From our excessive purchases of material goods, technology, and food habits it has become problematic for everyone else in the world. Sooner or later a full cycle will make its way back to us or our children or our children’s children. Fashion is the third most responsible industry for air pollution, most clothes are made only to last a few washes so we’ll “need” to buy new clothes. And trends exist only to make us feel like we need “new this” or “new that”. Phones are designed to last for 22 months, just enough time before a 2-year contract ends for us be pushed into another 2 year contract. Apple comes out with new designs and new updates, so that iPhone 5 that I’m holding will look like an antique to that iPhone 7. When in reality they are using the same internal structure, and just changing the interface. They say “switch in your phone”, they make it seem that our phones become obsolete whereas in reality it lands up in a landfill somewhere in Africa for people to rummage through the metal scraps. And within itself, there is a whole economy built in from our waste, and you find that people’s livelihood depends on it. A deadly cycle continues. You would think that these companies that claim to be “green” like Apple would take on some responsibility to find a way to integrate e-waste recycling and their production. Like reusing metals form old phones or setting up e-waste recycling centers in the places we dump our stuff where people that are dependent on our e-waste can disassemble it safely, and so then our waste is not costing lives and the environment. Clothing, trends, and technology all follow a pattern of consumerism, they are all designed with planned obsolescence. The food industry is the biggest pollutant on this Earth, and yet there are still people starving in the world. Most of all farmland and water is used for feeding cattle corn and soy. We destroy rainforests for palm oil, for meat, for corn and soy to create food that isn’t real food. It is incredulous that a western country like America, educated and affluent, would be one of the most malnourished countries in the world because of our corn based diet with an overabundance of meat and little to no vegetables. In the video we watched in class, it specifically addressed the problem with milk, where companies are required to put an arbitrary date on cartons that could last 10 days longer than the actual date, but as a result, our country is forced to dump tons of milk a day because our laws do not allow us to donate or continue to sell the milk. (In France, stores are required by law to donate all the food that is unsold to homeless shelters) And just to add, milk isn’t the only product that is wasted in mass amounts, but also compostable foods. 65% of all our trash can be compostable and biodegraded in soil but since landfills are lined with plastic, these fruits and vegetables never touch the actual ground and rot to create a surplus of methane in the air.
So to me, these milk wasting problems are to no surprised, just another cycle where we continue to live imprudently.