Modern Wasteful Society

1931 Words8 Pages
As human life has continued to transform and evolve throughout the decades it comes as no surprise that our waste has also followed suit. Our accumulation of solid waste and the materials we frequently encounter in said waste show a clear history of our constantly evolving use of technology. It is common belief that currently, in our modern wasteful society, we dispose of far more useful materials compared to our ancestors. Dr. Daniel C. Walsh chose to investigate this commonly believed fact and the transformation of waste streams in one of our most innovating cities; New York. His investigation led him to believe that these common truths about waste in America are in fact false and that our wastefulness was much worse in past decades.…show more content…
This World’s Fair revealed the first man-made material nylon. At the time, nylon was promoted as a “natural” product combining the best of what nature has provided us into a durable product with various uses. This unveiling marked the beginning of a new era in American history, the era of artificial materials. Plastics due to their versatility and reliability began to displace other materials in everyday life soon becoming the building block of modern society. With the rapid emergence of plastic products, following the reveal of nylon, the American waste stream began to resemble the newly transformed society with an increase in plastic products being disposed of daily. Prior to the war major cities in the United States, such as Brooklyn, where mass manufacturing hubs for the country increasing the amount of waste in their given city. Once the war was won we saw a shift in Brooklyn’s economy, it transformed from a manufacturing to a service economy greatly reducing the amount if industrial waste…show more content…
Instead of simply throwing out toxic wastes or even solid industrial wastes, we are not trying to minimize our materials use to reduces waste accumulation. This transition, as stated in “The Industrial Ecology of the 21st Century” had a major effect on waste streams as we entered a new century. The design and manufacturing of new products take into consideration the amount of waste produced and its overall effect on the environment. The life cycles of products are now being greatly researched in order to track its environmental impact and overall waste. Some claim that in order to reduce our waste we must follow nature's lead and find a way to transform all waste into some form of useful material. Like nature, we should find a way to use waste in productive ways essentially eliminating the concept of waste itself. Professor Lawrence Swanson, here at Stony Brook developed the first method to create cinder blocks for construction from the ash waste of incinerators. New methods such as this allow us to use the byproducts of waste management to create useful, needed materials for various uses, for example, the ash cinder blocks have been used to build the boat house located on Stony Brook South Campus in
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