Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Things I hate: Plastic as an economic indicator

Last week, American Public Media's show Marketplace stated
If you want to see signs the economy is bouncing back, look no farther than plastic.
My stomach took a nosedive when I heard that. The story goes that Dow Chemical's stated earnings surged a whopping 2,300 percent, and this is a good thing because it means that people are buying more stuff. And as we all know, stuff is either made of plastic, comes wrapped in plastic, or both. Further, Bill Wood of Mountain Top Economics and Research says that in a recovering economy, plastic packaging will always recover first as consumers go back to old habits:
BILL Wood: You could buy a head of lettuce, or you could buy prepackaged salad. You could buy a block of cheese, or you could buy pre-grated cheese. But as the economy recovers, consumers tend to purchase more of the preprocessed, packaged stuff.
So if Dow Chemical's profits are up, that means we are BACK, America! USA! USA!


Here is a nice visual to go along with the story. It is a time lapse video of 24 hours at a Walmart. I wonder, of all the stuff and packaging purchased that day, how much of it ended in a landfill in the following 24 hours?

Stephen Wilkes - Time-Lapse: A Day at A Walmart Store. from BERNSTEIN & ANDRIULLI on Vimeo.

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