In case you missed it, Ikea’s head of sustainability recently got some attention when he noted that we seem to have hit the era of “peak stuff.”
“If we look at a global basis, in the West we probably hit peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Howard said, joking, “It doesn’t sound quite so threatening.”
Peak stuff? Here’s how one writer has described it:
Peak stuff is the concept that, as consumers, there is only so much we can buy and stuff in our homes at any given time. The acquisition of stuff, has been a strong driver of retail trends for the last 40 years. For a long time there seemed to be no end to our desire to have stuff in our lives. As new technologies and changing fashion trends took hold of us year after year, we kept buying more and more, stuff. Then the great recession came and many people were forced to do with less stuff. About that same time, the combining of many devices into one changed the retail landscape as much as malls did when they first came out. These two factors have created conditions where our level of peak stuff in places like the US, Canada and the UK, have actually gone down. We just don’t need as much stuff anymore.
Of course, one might be tempted to add – okay, we are tempted to add the phenomenon of conscious consumption into that mix, as well. With climate change a reality, more people are deliberately choosing to do more with less; to recycle, freecycle, repurpose; to barter and share instead of always buying more, more, more.
But we digress…
Point is: Yes, the world is full of more stuff than we need. We fully agree.
Yet this particular stuff is kind of nifty:
Of course, it requires even more stuff – namely, a 3D printer and a bunch of plastic – the last thing our planet needs. (As the author of a recent study showing how plastic has radically altered our environment put it, “If all the plastic made in the last few decades was clingfilm, there would be enough to put a layer around the whole Earth.”)
Fortunately, it’s not exactly the stuffness of this stuff that makes it nifty. It’s the design – how it stores a toothbrush individually, completely away from others. Most of the toothbrush holders you see are designed to hold several brushes – not the best storing method, as bacteria and other microbes can be transferred whenever the brushes touch.
Storing your brush upright in open air, away from others is one smart way to help keep your toothbrush hygienic. Here are some other things you can do – along with a look at why you need to do them.
You may already have a fine enough one right there in your kitchen cupboard:
Just one brush per glass. You’re golden.
Glass image by D Sharon Pruitt, via Flickr