Fancy buying a portable urinal that’s shaped like a golf club? Or maybe you’d prefer a motorised ice-cream cone? Well, someone surely wants them. Such prime examples of human ingenuity have inspired the launch of the 2010 Landfill Prize, the award for Britain’s most useless consumer product.
The golf-club urinal is an early nomination for this year’s award. It’s basically a hollow plastic tube that’s been made to look like a club. The idea is that golfers can wee into it while playing a round. What’s wrong with the time-honoured practice of nipping behind a tree?
The motorised ice-cream cone won last year’s prize for the most gimmick-laden, pointless junk anyone had seen in the previous 12 months. This battery-driven plastic cone whizzes around so that all you have to do is hold your tongue out and apply face to gadget. Bingo—no more dull wrist-twirling, but probably a lot of ice cream down your front.
In the depths of a recession, it might seem logical to expect consumers to stop wasting precious money on pointless junk that ends up in the bin after only a couple of uses. But sales of consumer nonsense are still rising: wand-shaped TV remote controls, desktop vacuum cleaners, and electric toothbrushes. Our culture remains 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 at Nature Geoscience say that much of this was caused by Chinese exports of consumer gadgets to Europe.
So we want your nominations for the most needless, wasteful uses of our planet’s precious resources that you’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 at the end of February, is ultimately an opportunity for us to say: “Thanks. We’ve got enough stuff now.” We’ll invite the makers along to a little prizegiving and, if they don’t want to come, I guess we’ll have to pop around to their place to make the award.
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)
You can post nominations at www.enoughness.co.uk until 14th February.