Single-use Culture

I just read in Singledom Daily this morning, written by Shirley Wacked, that a grassroots movement is gaining momentum in the ongoing single-use versus multi-use debate. Here is the text as it appeared, word for word:

“It’s hard to hold one solid position on this topic because each has its pros and cons. It strips down to personal choice and really how much money you have to maintain the lifestyle that fulfills your needs.

So let’s see how deep we can plug away at the practice.

The single-use lovers are arguably cleaner, safer, and more accommodating. The motion on the pro side consists of the following thrust:

  • It comes sterilized so there is no danger of any bacteria or viruses or worse— rogue seeds
  • You enjoy it once then never have to deal with it again— that’s a popular feature especially if it gets really dirty
  • You never need to take care of it— no cleaning even
  • There is no long term commitment— again, it’s a time saver for a busy woman
  • You can easily switch up the colour when you get bored of the same old same old— like their multi-use competition they come in all sorts of fancy colours
  • It’s less expensive to acquire one— so if cash flow is a problem for you this can be the only viable option, short of not getting any at all

I would also add that if you mother it, you might even get a few more uses out of it, but only until it starts smelling. Then you just toss it to the curb and either the city will pick it up and send it to an island somewhere, or recycle it at a special cleansing facility.

Recycling is of course the most responsible way to deal with any overcrowding problems resulting from conventional displacement. At recycling facilities, they have professional staff and industrial chemicals not available to the public to make sure there are no trace contaminants. But buyer beware, it’s a business and as such still focuses on the bottom line. Do your homework before you jump on it. Not all recycling companies are on the up and up.

Furthermore, one could argue that as a results of these advantages, your social life also improves.

For example, if you’re having a party with a bunch of girlfriends, who wants to clean up the mess afterwards?

You then have time to host more parties which translates into more friends. You could theoretically always have a group of multi-use ones on hand for special occasions, but they tend to take up too much room in the kitchen anyway. If go that route, you also would have to be very selective about who you invite because invariably one or two always “go astray” and of course no one will admit to it. ;-)

The whole attrition problem becomes an even greater issue for larger more public events like a book launch, or even for a smaller community event like a house warming, events where you don’t personally know all the people who show up…and then there are the party crashers looking for a free ride.

I tend to stay away from housewarmings myself. You never know what kind of dirty habits your neighbours have. I remember once the hostess served me one that seemed clean enough on the outside, but when I took a closer look it was covered in spots. Yuck!  I kicked that one by the curb-side when she wasn’t looking and abstained for the rest of the evening.  I hear one of the neighbours got really ill after that party. She was on antibiotics for SIX months!

These days I keep one right at my side wherever I go, just to be safe. I picked out a couple of them so I don’t wear them out as fast. Not everyone can afford to do this I realize, so some people get recycled ones. They aren’t the best quality but at least they’re clean because of strict bi-laws. Still, check with your community first, just to make sure they meet World Health Organization standards.

And whenever I feel like I need a fresh new batch, I donate mine to the local Good Will. These ones are really the best deal if you don’t mind a little scuffs on the surface. They still meet the WHO standards from a functional point of view, but anything beyond that is the luck of the pick.  They have some issues.

Of course, I could just commit to a reusable one instead, although they are more expensive. But if you’re on the road a lot for you job, it ends up being cheaper in the long run. Hotels are notorious for charging ridiculous fees for the convenience of having a fresh one every day. And again, if you’re not staying in a 7-X hotel, you’re at the mercy of their quality control department.

But despite all the advantages stated above, my conscience tells me that it may be time for me to become more socially responsible. My one-use-stands are part of a larger problem. Invariably, the island of rejects will get overcrowded, causing massive air pollution as they heat up and release gases, contribution to global warming at an alarm concentration, or they will slip into the oceans and spread all sorts of nasty stuff through the food chain. In fact, this is already happening!!!

If you decide for personal reasons that you no longer feel the single use lifestyle is in alignment with your conscience, then by all means get a reusable one. My advice to you however is that if you splurge for a ultra high quality one make for darn sure you don’t leave it unattended somewhere or it’ll get snapped up in no time. Their development process takes years. Supply-and-demand you know.”

Now for a bit of humour. Reread the Shirley Wacked article realizing that Good Will is not a typo and “single-use lovers” does not mean “lovers of single-use items”. ;-)

I am not waiting for single-use culture to become the norm in EVERYTHING we do before making a few changes.

What about you?

What are YOU not waiting for?

(Kaz) Karen

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About (Kaz) Karen Lefave

Kaz Lefave (Karen Lefave) is an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, designer, and science fiction author who stirs things up and questions the status quo. You can find her on WomanNotWaiting.com, where she connects the dots, empowers, offers solutions, and inspires you to take active steps which together positively impact our planet.

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