Toaster - A Conversation Starter

Updated: Jun 30, 2019



The toaster is a small electric appliance designed to expose sliced bread to radiant heat in a controlled manner, converting it into toast.

It is a great conversation starter about materials usage (metal and plastic) and a future of our environment.

Why is this small appliance of such significance, you might ask.

If I buy a cheap toaster for $10 and replace it twice during 5 years, it's the same as buying a quality toaster for $30 dollars that lasts 5 years. Right?.... I don't think so.

The problem is that many people only consider price when buying a product and with the money they believe they are ’saving', buy more and waste more than they need. To do the homework about any products is important, here is just one of the on-line resources. The toaster is just one of many devastating examples of the environmental impact of our throw-away society.

The idea of toasting bread originated in ancient times.

However, in the late 1970s, the development of heat-resistant plastics enabled the production of toasters in a variety of previously unavailable shapes and colors. While it opened up new horizons for industrial design possibilities, it also created lots of unnecessary waste as the appearance and price of the appliance became more important than it's longevity or performance.

Our world has been transformed into a society where ideas, innovations and communications happen at the speed of light. On the other hand, consumerism has reached an all-time high, with products reaching their planned obsolescence within absurdly short time-span and new products being introduced every day. Consumers choose price over functionality or durability and that what killed the Great American Toaster.

We live in an amazing time yet some of the basic ideas about resource management and sustainability have been abandoned.

Not long ago, small appliances were designed to last for many years of use and could be repaired with parts readily available to service them. Now, we are connecting everything in our lives to the internet, and products are becoming essentially disposable. So why aren’t people utilizing reuse and recycling programs instead of trashing their stuff?

I still use a toaster which my in-laws purchase in 1961 and it still works. At our cottage we have already "worn out" two generations of toasters in a mere seven years. When we opened them to look at "repairing them", it quickly became obvious that they could not be readily repaired. We need to consider designing products to be repairable and maintainable again and to stop taking products from the store to our home to the dump in an ever decreasing period of time.

We hope that when you develop your next new product, and use Plasti-Block™ products and technologies, you also consider what you can do to make this product repairable and maintainable so that it can fulfill its intended purpose for years and even decades to come... like the humble 2 slice toaster from 1961 which I still use.....and love......


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