Peak Stuff

There was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday about Peak Stuff: Why is our consumption falling?. The Office of National Statistics in the UK publishes statistics about how much stuff is used – the sheer weight of the materials we consume. Currently the UK consumes the equivalent of 30 tonnes for each individual in the country!

What’s interesting is that since 2001 the figure has been falling – we have been consuming less stuff as a nation, despite an increasing population size. According to environment writer Chris Goodall; “In 2007, just before the crash, our total use of materials was almost the same as it was in 1989, despite the economy having tripled in size in the intervening years. And the peak in resource use appears to have been in 2001 – many years before the recession halted economic growth”. I guess that this is a direct reflection of the increases in efficiency due to new technology. In 2002 the use of energy, heat and power, started to decline. In 2003, the amount of household waste produced as a nation started to fall.

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