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  • If you've ever seen a shopping haul or unboxing video, you know that America loves to shop.

  • I did some shopping.

  • You know, I haven't really uploaded a haul on this channel in a really long time, but to be honest, the shopping never stopped.

  • Shopping has never been easier.

  • We no longer have to go to a store during limited hours, stalk the aisles looking for a product, and then wait in check-out lines.

  • Now with the click of a button, we have the freedom to shop for anything, anywhere, and at any time.

  • Every day is Christmas if you buy yourself stuff online.

  • Products are cheaper than ever, despite having to travel across the world to get to us.

  • Which means we often buy things without a second thought.

  • These are three dollars. Uno, dos, tres.

  • I will buy one, because why the hell not.

  • What's the last thing you bought online?

  • The last thing I bought online was a milk frother for my Nespresso coffee machine.

  • I think I bought five pairs of jeans, leggings and sweatpants.

  • Shoes, a pair of shoes.

  • So, you get a dopamine hit when you buy something; it's kind of this pleasure of 'oh i'm buying something, that's fun',

  • but with online shopping you get that dopamine hit when it arrives too, and when you open it, so it's kind of this double benefit.

  • And so it's actually more fun, in some ways, biologically than buying things in the store.

  • This biological compulsion to shop is partly due to the way humans are wired.

  • So, there is an evolutionary aspect to this

  • The people that had the most stuff were most likely to survive, so you gather a lot of food for the winter,

  • you gather a lot of wood for your shelter, and we still have that innate desire to get enough stuff, to make sure that we're going to survive.

  • Today, despite being surrounded by abundance, Americans are still collecting ever more stuff.

  • In 2017, we spent 240 billion on goods like jewelry, watches, luggage, books and phones,

  • twice as much as in 2002, even though our population only grew by 13% during that time.

  • Our spending on personal care items like lotions and makeup also doubled over that time.

  • So we're spending 20% more on clothes than we were in 2000.

  • The average American buys 66 garments a year, which is insane.

  • And we're even spending more on electronics, which is really interesting, because electronics are actually cheaper than they used to be.

  • So the dollar amount that we're spending is going up, even though the cost of things is going down.

  • And now that we do a lot of our shopping online, returning things has become more of a hassle.

  • One survey found that nine out of ten shoppers said they never or rarely return online purchases.

  • And part of this is because things are so cheap, you think, is it really worth $5 of my time to print out the label and go to the post office

  • and send it back when I'm really not gonna get that much money back?

  • Why not just keep this and maybe I'll use it eventually.

  • Most things that I buy online I feel like I don't wind up using.

  • A waffle maker, yeah, for college. And I never used it. It's probably still in the box in my basement at home.

  • Yeah, I mean, like lipsticks.

  • I buy clothes a lot, and a lot of times I'm too lazy to return them.

  • So where does all this stuff go?

  • Well, a lot of it just becomes clutter in our ever-expanding homes.

  • The average square footage of houses in the U.S. rose by 23% in the last two decades, while the number of storage facilities doubled.

  • It's become very easy to donate our unwanted goods to thrift stores, which makes us feel better about getting rid of our stuff.

  • But it's estimated that most of the clothes we donate actually end up in landfills.

  • The average American throws away an estimated 81 pounds of clothes and textiles each year, nearly 5 times more than in 1980.

  • We collectively threw away 26 million tons of plastics in 2015, and only 9% got recycled.

  • Consumers continue to want cheaper goods.

  • This means that manufacturers have to cut costs and create lower quality products

  • So you know, you'll buy cheap clothes from H&M and they'll lose their shape after a wash or two,

  • or you'll even buy appliances and where they used to last for 10 years, they last for 3 years.

  • This can't continue.

  • In 20 years, the global middle class is expected to grow by 3 billion people.

  • And we're on track to double the material resources we use by 2060.

  • We're running out of places to put all this trash.

  • By the middle of this century, the amount of plastic items in our oceans will be greater than the number of fish.

  • And this is actually becoming a problem because China is starting to say 'we're not gonna take your junk anymore',

  • So all these landfills across America are going to have to figure out what they're going to do with all this stuff that people are throwing away.

  • Where does that leave us?

  • The movie Wall-E predicted a bleak future where humans filled their planet with so much trash that they had to abandon it for another one.

  • Some consumers are trying to reverse this trend, taking part in growing movements like zero-waste households.

  • To me, living zero-waste means that I don't make any trash.

  • Or capsule wardrobes.

  • The rule of thumb is to go down to about 36 items in your closet.

  • Or doing a 'year-of-no-shopping'.

  • It was just about not buying things, unless I absolutely needed it.

  • Or minimalism.

  • Some consumers are using their buying power to encourage companies to create more sustainable products.

  • I should pay people a fair wage, and support companies that Iike.

  • But beyond individual choices we could look for a more encompassing solution.

  • Right now we make, use and then trash all of our materials, which can take a thousand years to biodegrade.

  • Companies could design all of our goods for re-use and to have multiple life-cycles before finally composting back into the earth.

  • We could start with clothing: nearly 100% of our fabrics could be recycled into pulp and turned into new textiles.

  • Otherwise, if nothing changes, let's hope we can make it to Mars in time.

If you've ever seen a shopping haul or unboxing video, you know that America loves to shop.

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B1 US shopping online buy trash clothes stuff

America's Dopamine-Fueled Shopping Addiction

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    Jessieeee posted on 2019/06/26
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