5 Byproducts of Modern Life That Are Burying Us in Garbage

#2. New TVs Are Creating a Lead TV Tube Overflow

Mark Makela, The New York Times

Televisions used to be like assholes: everyone had one. But then we decided, hey, why stop at one asshole? We aren't limited by stupid short-sighted biology here: TVs ahoy! There's a TV in the bedroom. And in the kitchen. And why the hell shouldn't we be able to see The Walking Dead while camped out on the shitter? What is this, communist Russia?

So there we all were: 20 TVs bathing us from all sides in their healthy, vitamin-D providing cathode glow, only to find that cathodes are suddenly outdated. LEDs, LCDs, plasmas, 3D, 4K -- we burned through the kid's college fund just trying to keep up with TV obsolescence. And all those old ones have to go somewhere.

Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
Underfunded high school A/V programs?

Between 1980 and 2008, over 700 million tube TVs were sold in the U.S. alone. While new versions of these old-fashioned TVs were still being manufactured, many firms did a tidy business recycling and reselling the lead glass that went into them. Of course, now that the world has moved on to thinner screens, the market for toxic glass has dried right up, and recycling companies are left holding a poison-laced hot potato with no way to recoup the costs associated with detoxifying it. We're talking stories-high mountains of lead that we don't really know what to do with. The landfill isn't an option anymore -- there's only so much lead you can shove into the ground before a nature spirit manifests to fight your bulldozer, and then you've got to deal with the Captain Planet kids all up in your grill. It's a whole thing.

Turner Program Services
"Man, look at all this shit. What is this, communist Russ- uh, sorry, Linka."

But once we figure out this whole tube business, that will be the end of it, right? Of course not! Because the LCDs most consumers replaced their tube TVs with are perfect examples of how to build something cheaply yet outrageously toxic and damn nigh impossible to recycle. So, while we staved off burial under a pile of Sony WEGAs by recycling their old tubes into new TVs for decades, there won't be any such grace period with LCDs -- once an LCD screen gives up the ghost, you're left with a big ol' rectangle of toxic garbage. But still -- look how thin it is!

#1. Flushable Butt Wipes Are Causing Shit Geysers

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If there's one thing that we at Cracked are for, it's cleaner butts. If somebody were to found the Cleaner Butts Party and run for president on the "shine up your pooper" platform, well, we'd vote for him in a heartbeat. Mostly because the two-party system is broken, so who gives a shit?

Hey -- there's his campaign slogan!

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
"Let's dump the incumbent! Make number 2 number 1 in November! Four more poop jokes!"

So we're pretty on board with the idea of flushable butt wipes. But the problem is that there is the very real possibility that they will drown the world in shit. We previously covered the time London's underground was invaded by a poo-based version of the Blob that damn near turned every manhole cover in the area into a geyser of feces:

Thames Water, via Discovery
Generally, anything that ends with "of feces" should be avoided.

And guess what held that whole thing together? Yes, the spirit of community. And also flushable wipes. The aptly named "Fatberg" (soon to be a Tyler Perry project) is just one of many disgusting incidents caused by the current popularity of disposable ass wipes. They're also causing sewers to overflow into bodies of water like creeks and rivers, meaning that you could wind up swimming in the very poo you so diligently cleaned off. As a result, sanitation companies have been forced to spend millions to implement new machinery that can grind the wipes down into something that's actually ... well, flushable.

Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Step One on the road to crafting a McMuffin.

Due to the massive increase of these overflow incidents, entire work crews that were previously on call for other sewer emergencies have been instead placed on "wipes patrol" -- just standing by, ready to unclog pipes and machinery that aren't built to handle anything more substantial than toilet paper.

So here's to you, the real unsung heroes -- the thin brown line that stands between us and a quicksand trap of our own feces. May God bless your health and service, Wipes Patrol.


Eric Yosomono lives and writes about wasting away in Japan, and you can read about it at Gaijinass.com. J. is working on a book. You can help start a bidding war here.

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Related Reading: Hey, not everything we do is wasteful. Human semen makes a great beauty treatment. We guess that's somewhat negated by the fact that the army shot toxic waste barrels to make them go away. But of course, there's no greater resource you can waste than your time.

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