/ Pathological consumption

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Only a hill - on 11 Dec 2012
Before you buy someone a talking Darth Vader alarm clock for Christmas, have a read of this article:

http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/
Milesy - on 11 Dec 2012
To be fair though if someone got me a talking Darth Vader alarm clock I would not chuck it out haha
Wonko The Sane - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: It's true.

In the last six months I've purged about 30% of stuff I owned and haven't missed any of it. In fact, there's more still that never gets used so I'm doing a run to a charity shop soon to get rid of more.

I really can't think of anything I want for xmas so have asked for some sort of charity gift on my behalf instead as suggested by someone here.
muppetfilter - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: You want one of these bad boys

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm9YKnw65Pg

I saw them in Saudi.
JLS on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

+1 Yeah, plastic tat is a pet hate that depresses me.
Jimbo W on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

You should see how much we chuck out of plastic in labs. Its incredibly depressing.

This year we made paper snow flakes for christmas decorations. No need for any of that shiny crap. Making them was great fun and brought us together.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I'm not "having a go at you", Alex, this is a genuine question - where do you draw the line?
e-reader devices don't seem to be terribly durable from what I've read, with a lifetime of at best a couple of years. That's essentially disposable technology using rare earth elements and so on. And you have published an e-book, so by extension you endorse e-reader devices. I know I'm comparing apples with oranges here - an e-reader has a lot more utility than a Darth Vader piggy bank - but my question was "where do you draw the line"?
cb294 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> You should see how much we chuck out of plastic in labs. Its incredibly depressing.

Right, this bothers me immensely as well. At least we have recently bought an industrial strength dishwasher so we can recycle the fly vials, but I canīt understand why our ordering dept. insists on buying pipet tips in disposable racks.

CB
Clint86 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: Good post. We constantly need reminding although we do our best. The anecdotes you could list are laughable. The last school I worked at had water delivered from 80 miles away direct to each classroom every month or so. The children quickly began to refuse all tap water. As for a more christmassy story, the new seasonal tat shop selling all sorts of seasonal tat in Kendal, could save us all a few emissions if the council just turned up with a lorry, cut out the middle man, and took the whole lot to the recycling tip straight away.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Jimbo W:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> You should see how much we chuck out of plastic in labs. Its incredibly depressing.

I have been working on a project with a manufacturer of single-use medical devices this year (can't say more than that, sorry). 40% of the incoming moulded plastic material for these devices becomes waste at their factory. And that plastic was moulded somewhere else, probably with associated wastage. Yes you could argue that medical devices are not "tat" but these things could be made reusable IMHO - just need a sterilisation stage and some good discipline by the end user. But disposable = more marketable.
dunc56 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
> Before you buy someone a talking Darth Vader alarm clock for Christmas, have a read of this article:
>
> http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/

Are the crotchless pants going back then ?
tony on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> But disposable = more marketable.

But that's a marketing message which can be changed. Up until recently, disposability has been seen as a good thing and marketed as such. It shouldn't be beyond the wit of a decent marketing department to change that message to promote re-use over disposability.

There is a slightly deeper issue tho', which is that many business models rely on repeat orders of disposable items. I do a lot of work for educational publishers who rely on repeat orders of disposable workbooks - there's no particularly good pedagogical reason why the material has to be supplied in this way, but it generates a regular income stream. Providing material in a different form would change the income dynamics, which might be a bit challenging.

I hate useless tat, and I particularly hate useless tat that uses genuinely scarce resources, or resources which should be valued much more highly that they are - you example of rare earth metals in electronics being a prime example, as is a lot of use of plastics - oil is way too precious to be wasted on stupid stuff.
iccy - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

This is quite apt timing. As I was reading that article a giant yellow duck being towed down the Thames past my office window.
pebbles - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to muppetfilter: Oh god. I actually do like that. But yes, thought provoking article. theres an unbelievable amount of pointless shit being made
Clint86 - on 11 Dec 2012
oil is way too precious to be wasted on stupid stuff.

....like driving for pleasure.

Blue Straggler - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Clint86:
>
>
> ....like driving for pleasure.

Shhh. This is UKC. Driving to go climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fell running, drystone-walling, bird-watching, photography, or to the cinema or theatre so you can report your opinions in the Culture Bunker, are all "OK" apparently :-)

LastBoyScout on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I was considering starting a thread entitled "January Landfill now on sale", but you've saved me the bother.

3 things never cease to amaze me:
1 - who dreamed up this junk in the first place
2 - who thought anyone would actually buy it.
3 - who on earth thought it would be a good idea to produce and package it anyway.
ripper - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: After several years of talking about it, my family (parents, brother, aunt, cousins, and respective partners) have finally agreed that the adults will not buy presents for each other, at the annual gathering at my mum & dad's place - instead all the littlies get something and I'll spend a bit more on our contribution to the groaning tablefull of food and alcohol. This year we're taking a whole salmon as well as various sweet treats and I'm thinking the wine selection might include a bottle or two of Chateau Musar. Did someone mention patholgical (over)consumption?
bouldery bits - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

I'm getting a sleeping bag.

Deal with it.
Wiley Coyote - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to LastBoyScout:

You missed Question 4 Who buys this junk?

But as long as the answer to Q4 exists I guess the answers to Questions 1-3 are: Some astute soul who understood the very old axiom that no one ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the Great British Public.
In reply to iccy:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> This is quite apt timing. As I was reading that article a giant yellow duck being towed down the Thames past my office window.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/picturesoftheday/9736809/Pictures-of-the-day-11-Dec...
davidbeynon - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to bouldery bits:

Doesn't count unless you get bored with it and throw it out by new year.
Only a hill - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> I'm not "having a go at you", Alex, this is a genuine question - where do you draw the line?
> e-reader devices don't seem to be terribly durable from what I've read, with a lifetime of at best a couple of years. That's essentially disposable technology using rare earth elements and so on. And you have published an e-book, so by extension you endorse e-reader devices. I know I'm comparing apples with oranges here - an e-reader has a lot more utility than a Darth Vader piggy bank - but my question was "where do you draw the line"?

Good question and I think the problem stems from the fact that there is no easy place to draw the line. I'm a bit of a gadget nerd and have been known to upgrade when it isn't strictly necessary, so in a way I'm part of the problem--as are we all, to a greater or lesser extent.
thin bob on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to cb294:
unless you're doing cell culture (maybe), buy bulk tips & reload into racks. I validated it for general non-clinical microbiology.

Depending on the plastic lid, you might need to use tin foil rather than the original plastic lid. 5ml tips, stuff them into a 1 litre beaker & foil top.
Or get cardboard racks.

Only a hill - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to LastBoyScout)
>
> You missed Question 4 Who buys this junk?
>

One of my colleagues seems to buy most of it...

Wiley Coyote - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to grumpybearpantsclimbinggoat:

OK I've changed my mind. Forget the Darth Vader piggy bank. I want one of those giant plastic ducks instead.
Blue Straggler - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
> (In reply to Blue Straggler)
> [...]
>
> Good question

Thanks. It is, I suppose, also impossible to answer.

> I'm part of the problem--as are we all, to a greater or lesser extent.

Yes we are, I am keenly aware of this and that's why I always hesitate to spread such links around. Yours was a good one, but the hypocritical platidunal (is that a word) eco-soundbite junk that "friends" like to "share" on Facebook really grinds me down :-)

lynda - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to thin bob: racking tips was one of my favourite friday jobs. Required no thinking and got a sense of actually doing something instead of falling asleep reading manuscripts.
Timmd on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> I'm not "having a go at you", Alex, this is a genuine question - where do you draw the line?
> e-reader devices don't seem to be terribly durable from what I've read, with a lifetime of at best a couple of years. That's essentially disposable technology using rare earth elements and so on. And you have published an e-book, so by extension you endorse e-reader devices. I know I'm comparing apples with oranges here - an e-reader has a lot more utility than a Darth Vader piggy bank - but my question was "where do you draw the line"?

I'm not sure if that's the right question, in my opinion it's ''Are we thinking about it?'', if we think about it, we're going to change a little bit, and that's a positive thing.

Tim
pasbury on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

It's the power of advertising - not just for specific products - but, at this time of year especially, the whole idea of fulfilment achieved by buying.

I've also never understood the mania for gadgets; the bloody things end up owning you. Demanding updates, upgrades, uploads, downloads, repairs and after all that they're obsolete or bust in two years anyway. Feck off the lot of them.
Timmd on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:It's a more hopefull way of looking at things anyway perhaps, and we all have different places where we draw the line, but it's still a good thing to think about it.
LastBoyScout on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Wiley Coyote:
> (In reply to LastBoyScout)
>
> You missed Question 4 Who buys this junk?
>
> But as long as the answer to Q4 exists I guess the answers to Questions 1-3 are: Some astute soul who understood the very old axiom that no one ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the Great British Public.

Not many people, as far as I can tell - I've seen lots of people, and I've been one of them, picking up and looking at the stuff and, possibly, admiring the cleverly punned names, or whatever cunning design/features, but then putting it down and leaving it.

Same with merchandise featuring of a lot of dead heroes - surely there's only so much market for a Mohammed Ali or Bruce Lee poster?
graeme jackson - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:
Grammar query. From the article...
"But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent."

should it not simply be 'obsolete'?
cb294 - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to thin bob:
> (In reply to cb294)
> unless you're doing cell culture (maybe), buy bulk tips & reload into racks. I validated it for general non-clinical microbiology.
>
I know, but I donīt make the purchasing decisions, so I get whatever is in the institute stores. Apparently it is much cheaper to buy racked than to buy bulk, especially if you factor in the time and effort of racking (or the cost of buying a racking machine for the institute).

There are some companies that sell pre-racked tips in reusable racks that you simply return, but they are to expensive.

CB
Flinticus - on 11 Dec 2012
Drawing the line?

You don't actually need to know where precisely the line is drawn. Debating that is probably another interminable discussion that can replace action with waffle. Its enough to know when you are well and truly under it.
SAF - on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: All the "novelty presents" I have bought this year have been mini lego kits (after much sulking last year when the men in my family realised from the rattle that there was lego under the tree and it wasn't for them).

Although it is clearly plastic, and far from ecologically perfect...the way I see it is, if and when they get bored of it, the lego can be handed down to kids of family and friends, thus recycling it!!!
thin bob on 11 Dec 2012
In reply to lynda:
> (In reply to thin bob) racking tips was one of my favourite friday jobs. Required no thinking and got a sense of actually doing something instead of falling asleep reading manuscripts.

we used to put the big ones on our fingers and play witchy fridsy the 13th :-).

It's also fun to put the rack and tips in a big bag & shake it up & see who can get the most tips seated :-)
Jimbo W on 16 Dec 2012
In reply to thin bob:

> unless you're doing cell culture (maybe), buy bulk tips & reload into racks. I validated it for general non-clinical microbiology.

We have a wash-up service that re-racks pipette tips and then autoclaves them, and we use these for everything on the bench, and for cell work, and only use bought in ones for mass spec and rna work. Larger pipette boy tips 5ml - 50ml tips we don't have any re-useable glass alternative, so we go through alot of these, and the sheer amount of waste tissue culture produced due to dishes and flasks is shocking.

I sometimes have the question going through my head: are we doing more harm (pollution, unfixing carbon, global warming etc) using all this oil to make all this plastic and then chucking it out, most of which gets incinerated, than we are going to ever help in lives helped / saved from translated research.
vark - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Blue Straggler:
The costs of cleaning, sterilisation and QA of the whole process means that reuse of equipment is only cost effective for low volume, high cost equipment.
More and more stuff is becoming single use. For example we use disposal sutures sets ( all metal and easily cleaned and reused) because it is so cheap compared to sterilisation.
stroppygob - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to LastBoyScout:
> (In reply to Only a hill)
>
> I was considering starting a thread entitled "January Landfill now on sale", but you've saved me the bother.
>
> 3 things never cease to amaze me:
> 1 - who dreamed up this junk in the first place
> 2 - who thought anyone would actually buy it.
> 3 - who on earth thought it would be a good idea to produce and package it anyway.

I bought a mate who is 56, but looks 76, and inflatable Zimmer frame (as mentioned by the whining lefty in the article,) for his birthday. It got a few laughs. What made everyone laugh even more, was when he damn near passed out when trying to blow the bloody thing up.
michaelc - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to LastBoyScout:
> Same with merchandise featuring of a lot of dead heroes - surely there's only so much market for a Mohammed Ali or Bruce Lee poster?

Ali's not dead!
(Just checked InterWebz in case I'd missed something)

Your points are valid nonetheless
monkeys on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill:

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we dont need.
Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Not that I blame advertising any more than the inability of individual's to think through their actions
Clint86 - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to monkeys: The trouble with advertising is we are exposed to advertising from age dot, when our brains are being hardwired. I would blame it for a lot of our troubles, as well as telly full stop.
stroppygob - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to Only a hill: Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family.
Choose a f*ck*ng big television, choose washing machines, cars,
compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good
health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed
interest mortage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your
friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a
three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of f*ck*ng fabrics.
Choose DIY and wondering who the f*ck you are on a Sunday morning.
Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing
game shows, stuffing f*ck*ng junk food into your mouth. Choose
rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable
home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f*ck*d up
brats you spawned to replace yourself.
Choose your future.
Choose life.

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