All this talk about the environment. Landfills filling up, global warming, going green…it’s the underlying theme of society these days. It’s not a bad thing that everyone is talking about it…in fact, it’s vitally important. As Canada’s most famous environmentalist, Dr. David Suzuki says:

“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit.”

Here’s the thing that really ticks me off. As we are bombarded with messages about all of the horrible things we are doing to the environment, big companies continue to make products that are harmful. Here’s just a brief list of stupid inventions that I think are just plain wasteful:

Microwave Steaming Bags. Think about it. Do you really need a plastic bag to steam your food in the microwave? How did you do it before the microwave steaming bag was invented? What’s that? In a container? In a pot on the stove? In fact, studies have shown that veggies steamed in the microwave lose up to 97% of valuable nutrients like antioxidants, so there’s not really much point in nuking your veg in the first place. Throw that broccoli into a salad instead. You’ll be healthier and so will the environment.

Disposable Toilet Scrubbers. So, I can go to IKEA and buy a toilet brush for $1.50. Or I can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of throw-away toilet scrubbers for $5.99. The toilet brush works just as well, and I can use it over and over. If it gets dirty, I can soak it in a bit of bleach and voila! It’s like new. The toss-away toilet scrubbers are just about the silliest invention I’ve seen. Just slap it on, scrub away then toss it. The commercials even say “Then just throw it away!” What kind of attitudes are we developing when we allow advertisers to tell us just to toss away anything we don’t need? Again, we got along just fine for years using an old fashioned toilet brush. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Plastic bags full of ads that get stuck on my doorknob. This is about the most ridiculous invention ever. I’m not sure about where you live, but where I live, there’s this company whose sole purpose is to fill up these plastic bags with a bunch of glossy, un-recyclable papers advertising various, mostly useless products I can buy in my neighbourhood. They hang the bags on the doorknobs of everyone’s house. It happens about once every 6 weeks or so. Let’s say they distrubute one to even 50% of the households in my city. That’s about 250,000 houses. 250,000 useless plastic bags full of useless, non-recylable paper, about 8 times a year. That’s 2 million plastic bags over the course of a year, most of which end up being tossed in the garbage without even being looked at. Sad, isn’t it.

Why do companies keep creating these products? Because we keep buying them. If we are truly going to start making positive changes, we need to stop being such a disposable society, and we need to start taking a stand against these kinds of senseless, wasteful products. Here are a few proactive things you can do right now to start along this path:

  1. Stop buying this crap.
  2. Write to the companies making these products and tell them you are going to stop using any of their products until they stop producing harmful things.
  3. Write to your government representative and tell them you want tougher regulations put in place with regards to how people distribute and advertise these kinds of products.
  4. Stop buying this crap.