One mantra of the environmental movement in the U.S. has been “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but consumption patterns in the country reveal a nearly opposite trend: buy, use, discard. Disposable culture is on the rise across the country, and has been ever since single-use razors and disposable diapers hit the shelves in the 1960s. Now disposable cameras and disposable cell phones (the recently introduced “talk and toss” mobiles) have been added to the list, and disposable DVDs and video cameras are starting to seep into the market as well. Debra Lynn Dadd, founder and sustainability advisor for the sustainable-use advocacy group WorldWise, says a major problem with disposable items is the quantity of resources used to manufacture them: “When you use these products, you’re not only throwing [them] out … there’s also the material that was disposed when the product was made. That’s waste we never even see.”

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