Why do we buy useless stuff, and why does it exist?

Posted by

My mind did explode again. I was trying to clean up the shelves in my 7-year-old daughter’s room. The room itself is pretty okay, but the toyboxes are full of the weirdest crap I can imagine. Of course, there are ESSENTIAL pieces of paper that she calls “childhood memories.” Stones, shells, and so many treasures. Naturally, she did not remember those did exist before I found them. But the real problem was the THINGS which cannot even be called toys. Tiny plastic figures, weird EYE-BALLS, fake teeth of vampires, that no one can use in real life. Where did all this nonsense come from, and why? Who was the genius that decided to start producing those items?

Whose fault is this?

So, I am curious – whose fault is this? I also have two additional questions:

  1. Why are these in my house?
  2. Why have these ever been produced?

The answer to the first question is probably: Because I let them in. (The kid has two parents, though.) I have bought her too many chocolate surprise eggs, for sure (those are illegal in the USA, but whenever we have visited Europe). I can see now the wisdom of not having those available. Also, I was not always this strict and eco-oriented. But even now, I don’t fully control what other people and family members buy for my child. While I can tell that my kid used to love My Little ponies and Equestrian girls, it seems that also the birthday goodie bags had a role play in this mess. I have not had the heart to tell my daughter not to take one. And hand over my heart, I am guilty as well… I used to put some bizarre stuff in those bags when she had her parties a few years ago – only to get rid of the duty. Not anymore, I promise.

Top 6 of necessities

And then to the second question: Manufacturers do not produce items that no one buys. The power is in our wallets. These exist because someone buys them. Please, let’s stop – we don’t need these. They have no purpose, and not any of these can be recycled on the curbside. Can you imagine we use fossil fuels to produce these and simultaneously accelerate climate change – for this and other useless stuff.

So, what do you think? Where does the responsibility land? Who is responsible for all these planet harming unnecessities being produced? Are the problem the consumer, businesses, or governments and legislation?

Consumers are the ones that make the purchasing decision in the end. If we stop buying these kinds of items, they will disappear. (Even though the plastics as the material will stay forever, but you know what I mean). But is being sustainable only our responsibility? Especially if suitable alternatives are not always on the market or available? It should not be only on our shoulders. Don’t the companies and businesses have any ethics about what they sell or produce? I guess most of them do not. You know how it goes: “It is not the fool who asks but the one who pays.” But if the legislation AND the individuals would push businesses in a more sustainable direction, that would make a difference.

Governments and influential organizations such as the EU and UN draw the main lines. Legislation tells or could tell the companies and businesses what they are allowed to do and produce and how. And according to what we see happening, it sometimes looks like that there is a belief that the economy, the power that runs the world, and which we need for sure, cannot be supported by being sustainable. And that is a lie.

The results:

  1. My fault 
  2. Most of us fault

We are not powerless!

Our choices and consumption habits have so much power in them. Why not use that? Also, we have the chance to teach sustainable values to our children. EVEN IF society would not do so, and despite the legislation and companies allow harmful things and items to be available. Our children are our children and our responsibility at the end. We can help this planet to survive for them. It is a comforting fact, but it requires our awareness and action.


What will I do with those plastic essentials I gathered ( I got over a pound of those.) I let her keep the ponies that she used to collect – the big sister even made a pony world for her with lights and everything. But all the others – those will silently disappear and find their way to our local recycling center. They do accept plastic “toys.” I shall pray these will fall in that category. And I hope the new life of these items will end up being material of something extremely essential we could not live without.

My absolute favorite was the squeezy unicorn. When you squeeze it, a glitter bulb sticks out from its bottom side. Why? The unicorn itself had got broken and disappeared, and these glitter-filled intestines were left behind. Essential and sustainable.

I also want to add a fun fact, just for thoughts. There is an air purifier in my daughter’s room. It counts and recognizes different sizes of particles in the air and NO2 and VOCs (Volatile organic compounds). Whenever I start to go through her miscellaneous boxes, the VOC levels jump from green, pass to yellow, straight to the orange level. We don’t know what’s in our children’s stuff – do we?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s