From the shop to the trash – the rampant race of consumerism

23 de fevereiro de 2017, por em Sem categoria
From the shop to the trash – the rampant race of consumerism

In these times when consumerism becomes an increasingly strong brand in our society, where the disposable is increasingly present in our daily lives, where unconscious consumption consumes more and more of our natural resources, we need to reflect on The time it takes to buy a product and discard it in the trash.

Often, we buy what we do not need and waste what is not ours. At some point, we will miss it. According to E-waste World Map, the world’s first global e-waste map produced with UN coordination, the world will produce 65.4 million tons of e-waste in 2017 (8.7 kg per inhabitant), causing major economic, Social and environmental issues.

+ Garbage and – food – For food, 1/3 of the world’s total is lost, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Brazil is among the top 10 food-wasting countries in the world, with approximately 35% of all agricultural production going to waste. This waste occurs in all stages, from the beginning, in the plantation, through transportation and industrialization, to the handling and preparation by the consumer.
Waste becomes more and more commonplace in our society and ends up being so common that it no longer attracts our attention. The time between buying the product and the time it goes into the bin is getting smaller. In many cases, we see that that product is not what we imagined or was not what we needed.

Power of decision – We must be careful, because it is also up to us to define this life time of each product. We must be attentive to our decisions. When to buy and what to buy. How we should use and how long to use. How to know if the product is no longer needed and what to do from there. We must return to the old practice of repairing equipment, after all, we can not discard everything when the first problem arises.

And this brings us to another reflection. We observe that these habits directly affect not only our relationship with the acquired products, but also with the people who live around us. Long-term visions are lost. Everything is immediate and available.

The evil of immediacy – The great Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, who passed away on 9 January, warned us that we are losing our ability to dream and look to the future. We live in times when everything is ephemeral. We live in the economy of excess and consuming appearances.

Let the lessons of Bauman help us to be more and less. May we be owners of our time and aware of our choices. Let us take care of our emotions and the world in which we live. What problems are reasons to repair and not to discard. Not only will the environment benefit from this, but human relations will certainly be more sustainable.


Emiliano Lôbo de Godoi
Professor, Doctor of the School of Environmental and Sanitary Engineering of the Federal University of Goiás (UFG)

Photo: Corália Elias – Beco do Batman-SP