Minimalism, Is it the Answer?

This week in class we talked about consumerism and the damage that our consumer nation does to the environment and the rest of the world.  The sad part about it is we notice what harm we are doing, but we just keep on doing it.  It has even gotten worse.  I am going to pick on a company that I personally hate, Keurig.  Keurig machines, and other pod coffee machines, use small single-use, non-biodegradable cups to make a single cup of coffee.  To make matters worse, these cups are also non-recyclable.  Enough of these cups were sold in 2014 to wrap around the globe at least 10.5 times. The inventor of the k-cup, John Sylvan sold his company in 1997 and now regrets ever creating it. Here is an article in which Sylvan discusses why he is now against the use of his invention:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/03/03/creator-k-cup-regrets-inventing-them

K-cups are just one product that we see doing damage to our environment that we just cannot seem to stop buying.  People seem to be willing to look the other way when faced with the negative effects of products in the name of convenience or in order create their self-image.  We buy clothing and electronics that we love and then hate within a few months or a year, and then we toss them out and buy new.  We do not think about, or care where these things go or what went into making them.  We just want-want-want and nothing can stop us. We take durable items and make disposable versions of them. Cups, bags, eating utensils, the list is endless.  We buy-use-toss.

The only real answer to all of this is to reduce.  That’s right, the famous reduce from the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” arrows that have become so popular in the environmental movement.  Of those three words, the real winner is “reduce”.  Reduce our consumption of all things.  The closer we can get ourselves to a minimalist lifestyle, the better off our world will be. Some studies even show that less things often equates to more happiness in a person’s life.  Just think, less waste, less clutter, less money spent.  Just a few durable products that you absolutely need.  I think that this is something that I could get into.

-Josh Clyde-

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28 thoughts on “Minimalism, Is it the Answer?

  1. I really liked your post, I agree with a lot of the things you talked about and stated in the video and it is a really interesting view and idea that I think more people should be open to. I think a lot of people don’t realize how much they are consuming and how detrimental this can be to our world since over the years it has just become the norm. It was really interesting to see that now the maker of the k cup wishes he hadn’t even invented in now. Thanks for sharing.
    Cori Wolfe

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    • I guess the first step to consuming less might be making people aware of how much they consume. I always like sharing the k-cup creator story with people.

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  2. I love this post! I posted a similar blog about the tiny-house movement and how it relates to consumerism, and it really hits the nail on the head here as well! Right on, minimalists!
    -Jordan Wilcox

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    • I read your post about tiny homes! I have thought a lot about this option but I can never work out all of the details. I like how you brought up the idea the people now change their own lives even if they know it may be more difficult to change the world. I see it as a step in the right direction.

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  3. The best home made coffee comes from a French press with good beans. Everything but the water is reusable. The grinds are great for the garden.

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  4. I really liked your post! I find myself using more k cups than normal pressed coffee. It would be cool to have the keurig cups made a little more recyclable. Becca Roberts

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    • Unfortunately, John Sylvan doesn’t see recyclable k-cup as something that will happen. I think the best option would be to try the self loading cup that you can get for you machine or, of course, making a pot the old fashion way.

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  5. As much as I love my Keurig, I am not blind to the issue. Hopefully inventive thinkers will soon investigate ways to change the cup design so that it may be biodegradable and recyclable and we can all continue to enjoy the convenience of them without the guilt. I have also seen many ways to re-purpose k-cups and hopefully more of these tricks are thought up and begin to trend in order to reduce some of the waste.

    -Courtney Snyder

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    • I think that re-purposing k-cups can only go so far. I mean how many k-cup snowmen and other crafts can you have? The average k-cup user might be using between 1-3 k-cups a day. Keeping up with this product is an impossible ideology.

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  6. I totally agree that the most important step in taking environmental action in our individual lives is to reduce. When I first heard of minimalism, I initially thought that it sounded like a truly boring way to live your life. A house with barely anything in it? A tiny wardrobe? That sounded terrible to me. But since then I have really looked into it and I’ve been converted. I’m currently in the process of ridding my life of unnecessary stuff and I already feel lighter, less distracted, and able to focus on the more important things in life: experiences, not things.

    Katie Clontz

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    • I am currently trying to do the same thing. It is hard to find time to sort through the things that have been collected over time and get rid of them. I feel like not buying new things has been pretty easy for me though.

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    • Remember that we can sell many things that we want to get rid of. By listing on ebay one will the get most fair price and our stuff will go to someone that wants it enough they are willing to pay for it. I buy used stuff on ebay (occasionally) amazon once in a while and fidelis monthly. When we buy used, we stop the consumption of resources to make a new product and keep the old stuff from being buried.

      We beat up on Goodwill in class, but Goodwill resells what they can sell and the rest is bundled and sold as an alternative to newly harvested raw materials. Perhaps not a perfect system, but much better than a landfill.

      Mike Cappel

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      • ahhh but then with sources like ebay and Amazon we have to consider transportation/delivery of these products as well as excessive package. I agree with you that Goodwill has a good thing going because the things they sell at each location are generally from the same are or near by the location that is selling the items. As an alternative to ebay or amazon maybe try craigslist or garage sales? less transportation and zero packaging.

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  7. Sadly, I own a Keurig and I am part of the problem. I am doing my best to use my reusable Keurig containers but I mostly use the ones that you just throw away. I have been considering selling my Keurig and buying a new coffee pot or french press but I only drink one cup a day and the Keurig is convenient for that.

    Andrew Traicoff

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    • Instead of passing the footprint on, maybe consider taking it to an appliance recycling drop off. I am not sure if that is the perfect answer but in my mind its an end to the product, which is a win to me, but I guess if someone wants one they will buy new if you don’t provide them with the option to buy used. I don’t Know.

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  8. Of course packaging and transportation matter. Yes most things are shipped either to us or the store and are still packaged in “popcorn” if they breakable. The difference is that we don’t see the packaging when the store throws it out. And since I have to drive, walk, or bike to the store, the good is still transported another 3 or 5 miles after I buy it.

    I want to support local merchants and if I buy new, I like to shop at a local, independently owned shop. But used isn’t always available locally.

    Love the concept of your post. Your post fostered a good debate.

    Mike Cappel

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always important to hear all points of views. It is the only way to that a person can improve their ideas and opinions. I agree that packaging tends to be one of the hidden things that consumers do not see when buying new at the store.

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  9. it was really interested. Many mickle makes a muckle. As like the same garbage does.

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  10. Reducing consumption would be very beneficial to the world. I never think about the keurig because I only use it maybe a couple times a month and always put the little things in the recycling thing (whoops). Awareness is important because it could start the trend to reduce more and influence more reusable products.

    Shelby Simmons

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    • Awareness is my main focus. I want to work in some sort of environmental education field. Try to avoid throwing your k-cups in the recycling bin though. It only makes it harder on the guys on the sorting line at Rumpkee.

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  11. I agree with your post. Reducing is the most important step. One use items are a terrible idea, and convenience should never be a reason to waste so much. Every time my family buys paper plates they get a lecture. -Madeline Howard

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  12. How about we all make/take a challenge to minimize one thing that we routinely buy each week or day and blog about it over the last few weeks of our class.

    Mike Cappel

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    • If everyone would just cut back on plastic bags, disposable coffee cups and plastic water bottles it would make a huge difference.

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  13. French press is the way to go, it’s quick, cleaner and a much better coffee than the keurig. I’d highly recommend it to anybody! Great Post!

    -Matthew Schiesl-

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    • I’m not sure if I have ever tried it but since two of you mentions it on my post I might have to look into it.

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      • If choose a metal French press you will have it for the rest of your life as opposed to my glass one that I dropped. Based on your K-cup post, I made my own coffee this morning. Will try this until the end of the semester and see how it goes and what the non environmental effects are.

        Mike Cappel

        Liked by 1 person

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