Monday, September 25, 2006

Identifying mega-consumers by their garbage volume

I am pretty much the "anti-consumer"; the type of person most companies should not even try wasting time selling to or advertising to. I generally do not find myself wanting very many things, no matter how much advertisers push them on TV or elsewhere (in fact, that usually just makes me want them less). And, I really try to minimize my use of anything that is a "consumable", since by nature it implies repeatedly purchasing the same items over and over (ah yes, the holy-grail for any company is the "consumable"). And, what I noticed is that this lack of purchasing is readily apparent in my curbside waste (or lack thereof).

When I look up and down our street on trash day, or notice trash out in other areas I drive through, I am absolutely astonished by the sheer volume of trash people produce. (on a side note, which I will later blog about, I am even more upset by how little is recycled!). The only way people can produce the amount of waste I witness is by being mega-consumers in my opinion. And, there is a pattern of regularity to the waste-stream I witness around me.

I dare not mention which neighbors produce what level of trash weekly (though it is darn tempting), but I find it amazing how our 3-person household consistently puts out a single bag of trash per week, and yet multiple 2-person households near us will have 2 large garbage cans plus a half-dozen garbage bags out every darn week. And, worse yet, there are a few within a block or two where it is nearly always a dozen or more swollen bags of trash! Wow! What do they do to fill those things!?

I am convinced that there is a direct correlation between people's average weekly trash volume and their overall consumption level (i.e., the more the consumption, the closer they are to the "mega-consumer" level). Aside from being a certain indicator of waste produced (which just magically disappears every week with little concern as to where it ultimately ends up), it just has to tie to the consumption of so many throw-away type products.

The final step in the implications trail, from my viewpoint, is that this trash volume must also serve as a rather reasonable indication of outbound cash-flow (the constant sucking-sound of money being spent on products). No wonder the savings rate is zero (or negative) in this country -- much of the money earned is quite literally ending up in the garbage.

That's my initial take on this. I could rant for a while on this blog about the financial and economic and environmental aspects of all this, but I will save the for a future blog entry.

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