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Disposable Society

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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 low cost, disposable products have become the choice over their reusable forms for many consumers. Everyday activities such as grooming, cleaning, eating, and child care are where most disposable products enter our lives. It is possible for one individual to use dozens of disposable products daily, from blowing noses to changing a child’s diaper. Considering the amount of disposable goods being bought and discarded after one use, problems have inevitably arisen. The most obvious and tangible problem is environmental damage. Other consequences include declining values of family, relationships, and human life. Thus, the disposable phenomenon is worth studying and researching not only because it plays a large part in nearly everyone’s life but because the problems that arise from it could be pinpointed and possibly solved.

The popularity and prevalence of disposable products can be attributed to several sociological factors. First, disposables fall in line with Ritzer’s “McDonaldization of society.” The values of efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control are all espoused in disposable products. Take disposable contacts, for example. They are more efficient than regular contacts because the user doesn’t have to think about cleaning them or worrying about them getting lost or damaged. All thought has been removed from the process. Disposable contacts take less time to set up and there are multiple pairs in each package, thus illustrating the calculability aspect. They are predictable, meaning each contact is the same and the problems associated with cleaning solution and trays are eliminated. A...

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...nclusion, our society is inundated with disposable products that promise to improve our lives. There are dozens of new products invented yearly for manufacturers to cash in on the disposable craze. A disposable digital camera just came out on the market and a disposable cell phone is in the works for 2005. But disposable products aren’t perfect. They carry unseen environmental and social costs. The research proposal outlined above will provide more answers for our society in terms of how we are affected by the deluge of disposable culture. Knowledge is power, and knowing the truth about disposable products will help us better gauge the actions we should take as a society. Perhaps we should think about saving our future, rather than a couple minutes.

Bibliography

Bormann, Herbert F. and Kellert, Stephen R. Ecology, Economics, Ethics: The

Broken Circle. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.

Campbell, Neil. American Youth Cultures. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University

Press, 2004.

University of Colorado Law Review. Boulder, University of Colorado Law Review, Inc., 1992.
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