Disposable Society

1603 Words Aug 31st, 2005 7 Pages
Heather McCoy
SOC 247
Professor Eck
Research Proposal

Our Disposable Society

As Americans, we are privileged to many luxuries. Not every country allows its citizens to start their own businesses or provides the education it takes to run a company. Our free market system allows for many different goods and services to compete fairly for people's dollars. The freedom given to us by our forefathers grants the opportunity to choose between these goods and services. Put all these realities together and it's no wonder we have so many different forms of products. A relatively recent phenomenon that has subsequently emerged in our society is the prevalence of disposable products. Because of their convenience, efficiency, and relatively
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In fact, we throw away 2 billion disposable razors and 16 billion disposable diapers each year, this number growing each year as our hyper consumption of disposable products continues. Roughly eighty percent of all household trash goes to landfills, which are hazards unto themselves. Toxic chemicals leak out of the landfills and contaminate ground water and surface water. Also, space for new landfills is constantly needed, but no one wants a landfill near them, thus creating political problems and angry citizens ( Bormann and Kellert 100-102). Although some disposable products, such as plastic cups and cameras, can be recycled, the recycling rates are still quite low ( only thirty percent of household waste gets recycled). Britt Anne Bernheim, in her article "Can We Cure Our Throwaway Habits by Imposing the True Social Cost on Disposable Products?", brings up another negative point about disposables. "The true social cost of a product includes both the cost of its production and other costs that are not reflected in the product's market price. Examples of costs that are absent from the products price include: the deferred cost of disposal..., and the future cost of depleting domestic and foreign natural resources... Because the market price of disposable consumer products does not reflect their true social cost, the difference must be borne by individuals who are not involved in the production and consumption of those
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