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How design for disposability and convenience will bury us in waste

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credit: Swanson TV dinner


The aluminum companies actually held contests to come up with uses, inventing the aluminum folding chair and aluminum siding. But the real score was disposable packaging and foil. According to Carl A. Zimrig in Aluminum Upcycled, the stroke of genius was the disposable aluminum container that became the bottom of TV dinners and frozen food. An Alcoa exec is quoted: “the day was at hand when packages would replace pots and pans in the preparation of meals.” And then, the biggest score of them all, the aluminum beer and pop can, which like the disposable bottle, was not recycled but thrown out the car window.

More: Is using recycled aluminum sustainable and green? A new book raises questions

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