By Rick Stiebel
Maybe the curse of the dump it mentality started with disposable diapers. The concept didn’t catch on initially when Johnson & Johnson launched the first model in 1948, but after Procter & Gamble introduced Pampers in 1961, the movement was on.
By 1970, American diapers accounted for 350,000 tons of disposable waste a year. That increased to a staggering 1.93 million tons by 1980, accounting for 1.4 per cent of the crap that winds up in municipal land fills.
Looking to fatten the cash cow, the makers of Pampers funded a study by pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton in 1999 encouraging parents not to rush their toddlers into toilet training. By 2006, 3.6 million tons of baby dump showed up at the dump, accounting for more than two per cent of municipal waste.
Pampers even introduced a model for kids weighing 41 pounds, the typical weight of a five-year-old, in 2007. (thanks to Mother Jones and mothers everywhere for these stats)
Consider this in a roundabout way an introduction to my attempt to reduce my techno carbon footprint, and I’m hoping the good folks of Sooke can help me.
I have a 50-inch HD television we bought for about $2,000 eight years ago standing in our garage. It works and has amazing picture quality, but requires a new lamp every three or four years, depending on how much time you waste watching it.
We replaced the old lamp after the first four years for about $90, or roughly the cost of a few weeks worth of high-end Pampers.
But last year with the playoffs approaching and the new lamp starting to flicker, I panicked. After a series of intense negotiations with my wife, we agreed to buy a smarter than me TV.
When we purchased it, the salesperson assured us we could sell the old one for a couple of hundred dollars while explaining that the new one would last about seven years. Oddly enough, we also replaced our 20-year-old dishwasher with a new one that we were told would be good for seven years. And that was shortly before replacing our 20-year-old hot water tank with a new one the plumber said would last for 12 years.
Halfhearted attempts to flog the old television on Used Victoria for a hundred bucks didn’t generate a peep, so we slashed the price in half, with nary a nibble. So now I’m looking for someone who will take it for free to spare the cost of renting a truck, recycle fees and the guilt of sending it to the dump.
I would prefer donating it to a youth group or seniors home or someone in need who can handle the cost of the new lamp.
At this point, however, I would consider giving it to a biker gang, no questions asked.
Remember, one of the keys to a good marriage is two similar size TVs. Let me know if you’re interested.
Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.