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The Landfill Prize

Jan 9

Written by:
09/01/2009 10:23  RssIcon

Nominations needed for the award for Britain's most useless consumer product.


You might think that the credit crunch would inspire people to spend less on consumer gear. But last month, British shoppers still racked up record-breaking days in the stores. Why? We're addicted to consumption - a lot of which involves buying stuff that is frankly gimmick-laden, pointless junk. Welcome to the Landfill Prize (at ), a divertingly subversive initiative to help to break this expensive cycle.

Thanks to modern high tech, we should now have all the gear we need to enjoy comfortable, contented lives. Our culture is easily capable of producing myriad consumer items that are durable, reliable and useful enough to give years of great service. It's not like that, though. We're beset with messages that tell us that the stuff we've got now isn't good enough - that we need more stuff, that we need stuff that's somehow improved, with ever more extras and options. It's all got to be new, too, rather than, ugh, so last year. We've got fixated on producing and consuming stuff that has no future. It's only there to take our money on its brief trip from factory to landfill. Our instant scrap is becoming ever more sophisticated, complex - and planet-trashingly wasteful.

That's why the 2009 Landfill Prize has been launched. The prize is to celebrate 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 evolve ourselves out of this crazy cycle.

The website features a list of scientifically-backed ways in which you can help to proof your brain against consumerist chicanery, and is written by the longstanding Times health correspondent, John Naish, the man behind the prize. John Naish also recently recently wrote a series of columns for Ethical Consumer taken from his book 'Enough'.

Nominations are required by February 10th for the most needless, wasteful uses of our planet's precious resources that people have 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, the Landfill Prize wants to spotlight such pointless ingenuity as it makes its inevitable journey to the lifestyle junkheap.

Entries will be judged by a panel consisting of:

  • John Naish (author of Enough: Breaking free from the world of excess)
  • Anna Shepherd (author of How green are my wellies?)
  • Carl Honore (author of in Praise of Slow)
  • Mark Watson (comedian and author of Crap at the Environment)


The winner will be announced on the 13th February 2009. Please send nominations to




2 comment(s) so far...

Re: The Landfill Prize

Digital photo frames. Why on earth do these exist?

By Louise on   14/01/2009 10:02

Re: The Landfill Prize

The Scotts of Stow catalogue is full of them...
- electronic automatic egg boiler
- 'omlette express'
- electric wine opener
- tabletop ice maker
- automatic potato peeler...

By Brian on   14/01/2009 12:53


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