Saturday, 16 January 2010

The Landfill Prize - for the most pointless, and wasteful, consumer products of the year

Have you ever seen something in the shops - or advertised (on TV usually) that seems entirely (not even almost) pointless, completely wasteful, usually over-priced, and destined to be binned before long, either because it just breaks or because its appeal is never going to be particularly long-lived?

Of course such tat abounds - my personal favourite is the 'Kindle' - and all its related e-book reader-type-products, as not only is it a completely unnecessary piece of electronic rubbish, it seeks to replace a design classic: the far-from obsolete, cheap and entirely reusable (ask any library!) book.

It creates a whole new market in copyrighted material as it does so, meaning literature is reduced from being a pastime and an art form to being a piece of tradable intellectual property.

Whether you agree with me or not about the Kindle (do please make a good counter argument, Kindle fans!) there is now an award for your favourite such pointless product: The Landfill Prize 2010. Previous winners include the Nintendo Wii Fit, The Motorised Ice Cream Cone - and the classic Digital Electronic Skipping Rope, for when a real bit of rope just won't do.

Of course, buying all this stuff plays a key role in keeping our economy afloat - I'm reminded of the laugh-out loud funny 'Modern Toss' credit crunch comic book title: 'Buy More Shit or We're All Fucked'.

There has to be a better way of measuring progress than tallying up the value of making and selling all this stuff: and there has to be a more sustainable way of creating a prosperous society than doing so too. Pretty soon we'll run out of space to put all the rubbish- and the resources to make it in the first place. I hope we've worked out some of the answers by then.

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