What Grinds Our Gears: TikToks that encourage overconsumption

You can TikTok, but don’t shop till you drop

Too much shopping will kill the planet. PHOTO: Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

By Lubaba Mahmud, Opinions editor

I’m chilling on my couch, watching TikToks — as one does — when I come across the side of the app where people buy completely unnecessary things just for the heck of it. What’s more, the comment section is filled with people saying “I’m getting this” or “drop the link sis.” So one TikTok goes on to encourage hundreds, maybe thousands more, to get things like one-time use makeup wipes. My day is ruined. 

What’s even more upsetting is that the majority of TikTok users are under the age of 30, since young people arguably care the most about climate change and the plastic crisis. Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization, found we may very well have 46 million metric tons of plastic accumulating in our water bodies each year by 2025 if we do not take immediate action to stop it. But far from reducing our plastic consumption, we’re somehow coming up with new ways to increase our carbon footprint. 

Besides the environmental impact, we’re also funding the pockets of Bezos. This man has the audacity to thank Amazon employees and customers for paying for his space trip, even though the company exploits workers and plays a huge role in increasing income inequality.  So when Karen is showing us her Amazon haul of a freaking banana slicer on TikTok, she is doing double-duty by increasing plastic use and supporting Amazon. 

We can do better, Gen Z.