Amidst all of the hot new gadgets that debut every year are a number of innovative yet lackluster products that probably shouldn’t have been made in the first place. We’ve all seen them and rolled our eyes, but The Landfill Prize, presented as a tie-in to the book Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More by John Naish, celebrates them. The first annual prize was launched, according to its Web site, “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.”
Among the winners: the bra dryer, the Dryear ear dryer, the Uroclub (a golf club with hollow insides for when nature calls), the operatic pasta timer (a timer that sings opera!), and–surprise–the Kindle. We don’t necessarily agree with the latter choice, but the Landfill Prize defends it by claiming that “It creates a whole new market in copyrighted material as it does so, meaning literature is reduced from being a pastime and an art form to being a piece of tradable intellectual property.” Fair enough, but what about all the people who ditch dead tree books and newspapers for the convenience of a Kindle? As we’ve noted before, a report from the Cleantech Group estimates that a single Kindle cuts down on the purchase of 22.5 books each year for an estimated carbon savings of 168 kg of CO2. If the full storage capacity of the device is used, the Kindle stops almost 11,185 kg of CO2 from being released.
But the bra dryer? There’s no excuse for that one.