America is extremely wasteful. We buy cheaply made goods which break down quickly, and then we throw most of it away and buy something new. We buy clothes that wear out very fast, compared to clothes of years past.
Even if it doesn’t wear out break down, something new comes along every 6 months that is shinier, faster (when it comes to computers), bigger, badder, sexier, more fashionable. So we also often throw perfectly working stuff away, too. Most often, right into a trash can and off to the landfill.
Whether it’s plastic bags and cars made here or consumer electronics made outside the country, America is in the grip of the monster called planned obsolescence. If you get it now, it’s out of style in 6 months or less, and if it’s not out of style it’s often broken or malfunctioning inside of a year.
So, yeah, America probably does use 30% of the world’s resources, and the above-mentioned problems would be a very big part of that.
So, what is the solution to this? How do we cut down on our resource usage footprint?
Put an end to planned obsolescence. We don’t need a new iPhone every year. Consumer electronics should be built to last, which may cost more, but we’ll buy it less often. Making these goods in American factories would be a big step toward achieving this, but that doesn’t solve big business’s desire to make stuff cheaper and more prone to breaking. How do we legislate or force businesses to build things to last? Big question, but we need to solve this if we’re going to cut down on our usage of resources. Making goods that last longer would also reduce the advantage of making it overseas. Remember, the stuff has to be shipped here, and fewer goods being shipped makes the cost of shipping weigh more heavily on the price of the good.
Which brings me to my next point. America uses a HELL of a lot of oil. Some of it comes from shipping goods across the ocean. But by far our biggest problem is our consumption of oil for transportation. And probably cheap plastics, too. Like all those grocery bags. We could replace those bags with more durable and reusable cloth bags, but don’t tell the public that, they love the convenience of plastic bags. (Who cares if the ocean doesn’t like it so much? <-- ) Of course, building alternative energy cars involves little short of a political world war with the oil industry, but it's a war that's going to have to be fought if we want to cut down on our usage of fossil fuels. And if we want these cars to be built to last we're gonna need to make them here - and we're going to have to put an end to the concept of planned obsolescence, or even making them here won't work. Next, we need to start with bumping up our national campaign to reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you need a new car you simply trade it in, right? So why not do this with ALL consumer electronics? For instance, if you are a computer user engaged in the endless hardware/Windows/Video game arms race, then why can't you turn in last year's video card for a discount on today's newfangled card? Now imagine if we do this with TVs, whole computer systems, etc. - nationwide. We could do it without legislation but rather tax incentives. Imagine the sheer number of used consumer electronics that could be diverted from landfills and re-sold cheap to others such as schools or charities. Even in California, with its e-waste laws, we could do more to put used consumer electronics back into use, before they need to be recycled. Oh and when we recycle these electronics we are actually killing people and hurting the environment. Recycling consumer electronics here, with our strict pollution laws and workplace safety laws, would actually save the LIVES of people around the world... and the environment. Pollution cannot be ignored, either. We need the highest emission standards for all factories that produce resources and goods for the American market. We need to wake America up to the fact that there is no such thing as cheap energy or cheap goods, when it comes to allowing heavy pollution: we pay for it in other ways. Industrial pollution has poisoned our fish with mercury, ruined many of streams and even made some people's water catch on fire. We may not have cities heavily shrouded in pollution like those in China, and we may not have any cities ranked among the top 10 polluted cities in the world, but America can still cut down dramatically on its pollution footprint. However, the biggest thing we can do to cut down on our pollution footprint is to simply waste less. So how does America use less of the world's resources? We render planned obsolescence... obsolete. --- *Also see http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/american-consumption-habits/ Learn more here http://greenanswers.com/question/what-countries-produce-most-trash/#ixzz1P4z8dPsb