How has the refrigerator impacted society in a negative way?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The invention of the refrigerator has drastically altered our relationship with food and led to unhealthy eating habits and wasteful spending. In the Roaring Twenties, the refrigerator was a status symbol and an icon of consumer culture. As American industry expanded and we became a nation of consumers, people bought...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

The invention of the refrigerator has drastically altered our relationship with food and led to unhealthy eating habits and wasteful spending. In the Roaring Twenties, the refrigerator was a status symbol and an icon of consumer culture. As American industry expanded and we became a nation of consumers, people bought more refrigerators. Then they bought bigger and better refrigerators. Soon, rather than buying fresh food from local farms, people bought packaged food that they could store for longer periods of time. They also bought more food and kept more on hand than they could actually use.

Today, people buy food in bulk and have large stores of food available at any time. People eat more than they should, and they also eat more processed food than they should. Often, people keep so much more food than they need that much of it spoils and is ultimately wasted. In addition to wasting food, people with refrigerators also waste money. Refrigerators drain electricity, and refrigerators that store a surplus of food drain large amounts of electricity. People had much healthier lifestyles and pocketbooks before they began storing and refrigerating more food than they could eat.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The proliferation of electric refrigerators has had a negative impact on the environment for many reasons. Throughout the history of refrigeration, harmful coolants have been utilized. As an example chlorofluorocarbons were popular in refrigerators as a coolant for decades. Scientists realized that this gas was collecting in the upper part of our atmosphere and destroying the ozone that protects us from harmful rays from the sun. The early refrigerators utilized toxic chemicals like ammonia and sulfur dioxide that at times leaked and killed people.

Of the many appliances in the home, the refrigerator accounts for a larger amount of the electricity consumed. This means that refrigerators account for a large amount of the demand for electricity. Aside from the fiscal strain this places on families, power plants emit carbon and other greenhouse gasses that are responsible for global warming. In this way, refrigerators have had a negative effect on the environment and society.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team