Remember when all your clothes fitted into your drawers and wardrobes? Is the wardrobe now too small, do you need extra drawers?
These were questions posed in a talk on 'Consumerism' at the first 2020 Politics in the Pub at the Central Hotel on Monday nigh.
Allan Young, CEO of Cootamundra's Elouera Association, sparked lively discussion when he asserted that the negative impacts of consumerism had reached a stage where they were outweighing the benefits.
"In the 1980s we bought about 12-15 items of clothing a year which we wore till they wore out, but today the modern millennial buys about 65-80 items a year," he said.
"Charity bins now collect so much material that things are left on the op shop shelves for a few weeks then they get baled up and sold by the bale for a few dollars."
Mr Young said the industrial revolution started a cycle of mass production and greater affordability.
"You needed demand that grows from year to year, the ultimate pyramid scheme.
"Through clever marketing we all learned that having the newest and best of everything makes us a better person - but there's also a view that living more simply and in a more sustainable way we actually achieve more for the economy."
Some negative impacts: depletion of the world's resources and natural habitat; pollution; abandoning of old factories; global warming and mountains of discarded goods left in disposal sites so few can be recycled.
Recycling worked well 20 years ago but was not working so well now.
"A number of larger operators built highly mechanised plants that processed massive amounts of materials.
"For example, glass in Cootamundra and Young is sorted (by Elouera employees) into clear, amber and green and each is sold as a higher end product.
"The big operators don't do this - they're happy with $15 per tonne for glass, making the bulk of their money in contracts with councils as they were collecting the materials in their own trucks."
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