Thursday, 7 January 2010

The Landfill Prize

The Landfill Prize - the award for Britain's most useless consumer product
(from Uni-News, 7 January 2010)

In the depths of the global crunch, why would anyone want to waste precious money on pointless junk that ends up in the trashcan after a couple of uses?

But sales of consumer nonsense are still rocketing - stuff such as wand-shaped TV remote controls, desk-top hoovers, and electric toothbrushes costing hundreds of pounds. Even a hollow plastic golf-club you can wee into while playing a round (don't show it to Tiger Woods, please). We're still madly addicted to consumption.

Despite the financial collapse, carbon emissions from fossil fuels rose by 2 per cent last year to an all-time, planet-melting high. Scientists in Nature Geoscience say that much of this was caused by Chinese exports of consumer gadgets to Europe.

So, welcome to the Landfill Prize 2010, a divertingly subversive initiative to help to break this costly cycle.

We want people's nominations for the most needless, wasteful uses of our planet's precious resources that they've seen, bought or been given in the past year. Whether it's an electronic skipping rope, an automatic cucumber peeler or a laser-guided pair of scissors, we want to spotlight such pointless ingenuity as it makes its fast-track journey to the junkheap. This year we're specially interested in 'faux' green goods.

The prize, to be presented to the 'winning' manufacturer in February, celebrates the stupendous creativity of the people tasked with inventing constantly inflated new wants for us to want. It's a monument to perverse imagination and needless consumption. Most importantly, it's a plea for us to say, "Thanks. We've got enough stuff," and to break free from this crazy cycle.

The Landfill Prize site features a list of scientifically backed ways in which you can help to proof your brain against consumerist chicanery, written by John Naish, a national newspaper health correspondent, the author of Enough, Breaking free from the world of more . and the man behind the prize.

Nominations will be judged by a panel consisting of:
  • John Naish (author of Enough: Breaking free from the world of more )
  • Anna Shepherd (author of How green are my wellies?)
  • Carl Honore (author of In Praise of Slow )
  • Ben Davis (co-founder of BuyLessCrap)
The winner will be announced on the 16th February 2010. We'll invite the makers along to a little prizegiving. and if they don't want to come, I guess we will have to pop around to their place to make the award.

For more information go to

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