Landfills can seem a lost cause in the modern world. As surplus often exceeds demand, businesses are in a state of over production, supplying shops in the hopes and anticipation of sales. This business culture creates a physical surplus that has nowhere to go. And yet, even if products were to land in the hands of a buyer, once used its final destination is to lay destitute in a landfill. This means that our cultural geography is constantly affecting our physical geography and therefore the environment. This is certainly an era of "landfills and business surplus". It is a legacy that we should be ashamed to hand over to future generations.
There is currently no viable alternative or solution to the landfill epidemic. People are so used to shopping in an age of surplus and choice, businesses are so keen to provide excess in shops “just in case” and entire populations are willing to buy. This creates a pandemonium effect, a surplus bubonic plague of sorts. A key reason for the rise in landfills since its inception is in fact that much of our waste from plastics to metals are impossible to disintegrate once produced. Also, technology continues to eclipse itself, as seen by the conversion to cassettes to CD’s, and CD’s to the Internet which has indubitably resulted in an excess of unusable products. Thus, landfills will only continue to grow in size, eventually eclipsing the land we have allocated to it.
One saving grace of the landfill is in many ways the internet. Cyber space has allowed for less waste products, since it uses an interconnection between products that would have been manufactured anyway i.e. the computer. It reduces the production of CD’s and DVD’s, and replaces many excesses by supplying the products via the Internet. For example, games, music, films, books and clothes are all available both free and on purchase either in app format or the traditional website. Features like print on demand for books, Amazon and Ebay as a source for selling second hand merchandise and sites like Asos where clothes can be ordered online all serve to reduce the amount that is produced displaying an ethic and responsibility among vendors. This initiative must certainly aid in reducing landfill waste. The Internet as an alternative to over surplus has significantly reduced the carbon foot print as well as acting as a solution to landfills by preempting that such waste does not begin in the first place. It must be noted that "landfills and business surplus" go hand in hand, thus reducing business surplus must necessarily reduce landfill mass. The internet has perhaps been more successful than any other modern-day invention in achieving this.
Cultural geography owes it to itself to ensure that the Earth’s physical geography survives in this age of over production. If we think of the future in terms of centuries and see that each century produces a certain amount of waste – how much room is there on Earth for all our excess? Can the physical margins of land support what is produced? If we consider the Earth as a storage unit, it is lacking in storage space for all of Earth’s billions of inhabitants of waste. Imagine one person’s waste over the course of a year, then multiply this by the time span that individual will live and multiply that by the many billions of people on Earth. The logic is simple and speaks for itself.
It is clear that the Earth’s physical complications won’t be able to support the farce that is modern commerce for all eternity. Taking into consideration the various factors that affect from over production to technological advancement, businesses must be pressured into adopting a smaller carbon foot print and reducing surplus stock. We must examine the problem of landfills from all stages of production – it is everyone’s duty to help manage the problem at hand. Something must change in our current market and retail strategies lest landfills truly do become the next great human epidemic.