Living in the Pack Age
News that in a UK chain of supermarkets you can buy shrink-wrapped coconuts
is not as bizarre as one may wish it to be.
Long gone are the days when you could buy goods by the ounce or gramme. Everything is prepared in hygienic conditions for we consumers. We know what we're buying because it's standardised and the contents are clearly set out on the packaging. It's the desire to conform which defines us, the desire to keep up with the Joneses, to wear the same clothes and to consume the same, often crap, food and drink.
And we're much healthier for it, aren't we?
Oh.To be fair, some manufacturers also seem genuinely perplexed that the consumer might have a problem with the way their goods are packaged in a hygienic, cost-effective way that enables them to get pretty much whatever consumable their heart desires, from anywhere in the world.What Happens to Trash in a Landfill?Trash put in a landfill will stay there for a very long time. Inside a landfill, there is little oxygen and little moisture. Under these conditions, trash does not break down very rapidly. In fact, when old landfills have been excavated or sampled, 40-year-old newspapers have been found with easily readable print. Landfills are not designed to break down trash, merely to bury it. When a landfill closes, the site, especially the groundwater, must be monitored and maintained for up to 30 years!Spare parts
I am continually bemused by planned obsolescence. When I furnished my last domestic living space in the UK, I didn't want a gas stove which had a remote control, an alarm clock and assorted bells and whistles. I've always preferred simple machines, not because I'm cack-handed but because the more parts there are, the more can go wrong. My stove was, therefore, about fifty years old, built of cast iron and completely reliable.
Why is it that, in this country, you can't fix a leaking tap because, for want of rubber washers, you have to buy a new one? We had a rice cooker for a number of years which never failed us. Then the lid fastener snapped but could we find a replacement? We now have a new cooker!
In the UK, there is a Spare Parts Distributor
for all those little bits of electronic gear, such as remote controls, non-standard batteries and assorted cables, which we (or in Jakartass Towers, 'Er Indoors) regularly mislay or break.
I have a computer monitor whose switch has given up. There's also a fairly old Sony TV which isn't exactly black and white or colour - yellows and blues predominate. I'd like to get them repaired. Alternatively I'd like to dispose of them, but in an environmentally safe way. Bunging them in a landfill is not the answer. Perhaps a more socially useful way would be to give them away to an organisation which can use them ~ that's if someone would like to collect them.
In the UK, there is a Furniture Re-use Network
. Is there a similar organisation in Jakarta which can bring social, economic and environmental benefit through the re-use of unwanted household items?
If so, email me