Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Landfill Prize has been announced!

It's official. The Motorised ice-cream cone has been voted Britain’s most pointless, wasteful product by the Landfill Prize panel.

I had hoped my nomination, the Sat Nag, would have landed the top prize but I can't agree more that a motorised ice-cream cone is one thing the world doesn't need and is a very deserving winner.

This plastic gadget has been voted the winner of the Landfill prize, the award for Britain’s most pointless, wasteful and over-complex consumer item, after thousands of people visited the site, many offering nominations.

The motorised cone, marketed by the Perpetual Kid company, joins the list of such consumer wonders as a loudspeaker-equipped fishing chair, the Nintendo Wii Fit and a plastic electronic chameleon that doesn’t actually change colour.

John Naish, the prize’s founder and author of Enough: Breaking Free from The world Of Excess, says, “There might be a credit crisis, but it hasn’t stopped manufacturers churning out ever more unnecessarily convoluted consumer inventions – gadgets and gizmos that cost us precious money and planetary resources, but which rapidly end up dumped in landfill, or stashed at the back of cupboards or in costly rented storage facilities. "

The Landfill Prize was launched last year to lampoon what John calls this bizarre consumer habit. Nominations were judged by a prestigious panel of four including himself, Carl Honoré, the author of In Praise of Slow, Anna Shepard, the author of How Green Are My Wellies, and Ben Davis, the founder of BuyLessCrap.

Comparing this year's results to 2008, John remarks “There has been a marked change in the nominations from last year, when people emailed us to rail at “deluxe” items such as sonically driven toothbrushes, computer controlled air-fresheners and razors with an infinitude of blades. This year, luxury isn’t even on the radar. It’s been crunched out. Instead, novelty items provoked the worst of Britain’s ire. Perhaps there’s a new Puritanism dawning in these straitened times. Or maybe these items simply represent the ultimate waste of space."

“There’s a serious side to this lampoonery. The prize aims to highlight the fact that, thanks to modern high-tech, we should now have all the gear we need to enjoy comfortable, contented lives. Our culture is easily capable of producing myriad consumer items that are durable, reliable and useful enough to give years of great, economical service. Instead we’re still being offered evanescent junk. This year’s voting shows a sea change in sensibilities: novelties are now considered an item we no longer want to afford.”

So with bated breath...let's take a look at the winner and the runners up that made it into the Landfill Prize Top 10. I'm sure you'll agree there are quite a few deserving entrants and you might even recognise one or two!

The Landfill Prize top ten

1 Motorised Ice-Cream Cone.

Ostensibly for those too lazy to twist their wrists when eating an ice-cream. You pop your cone in it, stick your tongue out and it does all the hard work for you. Oh, hang on, it’s spattered gunk all over your chest. And the battery’s run out.

2 The Plane Sheet

Flying not sufficiently bad for the environment? Now travellers can boost their footprint with the Plane Sheet, an airliner seat cover available in a variety of finishes such as leopardskin, to "transform a tired, overused airline seat into a cozy, happy place... while keeping at bay germs from previous passengers” (hygiene paranoia not included). says that you can even have yours monogrammed. Classy.

3 Motorised fork

More spin from the world of novelty gadgets. The children of class P6/1 at Dingwall Primary School in Scotland, who nominated this battery-driven object, report that it is actually much slower at twirling noodles than using your own hand the old-fashioned way. The spinning cutlery is sold via Amazon, but the children aren’t impressed: “We think it is useless and wasteful,” they said.

4 Loudspeaker-equipped fishing chair

Just what every angler needs? No peace and quiet, but a folding fishing chair equipped with four loudspeakers, marketed via eBay. As Ben Davis, one of our judges commented, “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Give a man a folding fishing chair with built in speakers and he can annoy others for life.”

5 USB-powered Chameleon

Novelty galore here. Well, almost. The plastic USB-powered chameleon, sold by, plugs into your computer and sits atop your screen, drolly rolling its beady eyes. But hang on, it doesn’t actually change colour. Not ever. Are we missing a core value here?

6 Nintendo Wii Fit

Dave Watts, of Shropshire, nominated the popular exercise gadget, saying, “I don't need to pay an extortionate amount of money to get fit. I can do it for free by stepping outside the front door and going for a walk. I can talk to my children and wife, listen to music or the wild life or just think about how good life is without all the gizmos.

7 The Guitar Hero franchise

“Is learning three chords really too difficult?” asked Jeremy Williams, who nominated the bestselling video toy. “Rather than learn to play an actual instrument, you can now make a virtual cacophony on virtual instruments by pressing primary coloured buttons on a plastic guitar. There's probably two or three whole minutes of fun to be had before the buyer’s remorse kicks in.”

8 Digital Electronic Jumping Rope

Bored with your ropey old skipping rope? How about Reebok’s electronic version with batteries in the handles that counts the number of times you jump up and down and "calculates" the calories you’ve burned? Sadly you can’t accurately gauge your calorie-burn without making complex guesstimates based on your weight, age, metabolic rate, skipping speed, etc. But then that’s not the point of convoluted exercise gear. It’s to keep you motivated for, oh, several days.

9 The Toyota Prius

How can the Toyota Pious (oops Prius), be an eco-friendly car when it is actually built with two engines, asks its nominator, Andy Marks. He wonders if it is actually a status symbol for drivers who want to look “greener than you”. A moot point, perhaps, but Toyota's own study of 24,000 people who bought Priuses in America in 2007 found that many purchased it as a [itals] third [end-itals] family car.

10 The Sat Nag

This £6.99 electronic novelty mocks the Sat Nav device, blasting its owner with 24 annoying comments. It is sold through, and typical phrases include: “You have reached your destination - you may now throttle your passenger.” Its nominator Karen Cannard (yes that's me), feels that this is taking a thin joke too far.

Yay....So the Sat Nag made it..hooray! I could say I'm dead chuffed, but isn't it a terrible state of affairs that so much needless tat is produced in the first place.

For more information about the Landfill Prize and to see the winners in all their useless good-for-nothing glory, please pop along to and check out the links.



Fr. Peter Doodes said...

Motorised Ice Cream Cone... I thought at first you were joking, then I did a Google Search.

In the words of Victor Meldrew "I don't believe it".

a pot, a thought & a smidgen of dirt said...

Oh I would of put up plastic knifes and forks etc I cant stand them, always have a real set in the car or eat the fun way, with ya fingers lol

John Costigane said...

What a load of "landfill" rubbish! I have never come across these items but it is better to be aware of the junk.


LOL Peter - it's dumb isn't it and each year a whole range of useless crud is being made. I wonder what next year's will be...please feel free to share the information. The more people who are awared of the Landfill Prize the better. :-D

Hi Fiona - oh I know what you mean. they're such a waste and just imagine the numbers that are made and disposed of each year. Shocking! :-D

Hi John LOL. I'm just glad that John and his team of judges are in place to promote the nonsense of all this junk :-D

Layla said...

Oh gosh!! lol!!

Of course I had to google it up too!! OMG!!

I've seen all sorts of raving reviews of the Wii and Guitar Hero online.. hmm..!!
/& yes I did suggest learning guitar too, as diplomatically as I could! lol!!/
People get strangely addicted to these two!! (and may even get pain from weird posture/movements with the 'guitar' OoO)

YAY for Making it to #10!!

/I did see a motorised apple/potato peeler on Dooyoo too.. OoO And a gadget cookbook that apparently kids may prefer to use! -?)
/Someone said the potato peeler on batteries might come handy for arthritic hands, but then I put up a review on curing arthritis with nutrition & lifestyle makeover! :))
And if we had less waste there'd be less bad air and less arthritis and such too!!

Anyway, awesome post lol!!
/still can't get over the ice-cream cone and the plane seat, monogrammed lol. - I took a google and it looks tacky.. I do feel a bit sorry for the manufacturer - maybe he has a germ phobia like poor Mr Monk? at least he says it could be 'washed & reused or recycled' too... hm!! (with a typo!! OoO)

Karin said...

I had no idea 7 of those items existed, I'm thankful to say. 2 of the 3 I have heard of as they are owned by my son, but he's still a teenager (for a few more months) so I hope he'll grow out of it.

Baba said...

Not sure I agree with the Wii Fit being on the list - its not something that would quickly end up in the bin given its intrinsic value and popularity....and yes, exercise is far better done naturally and outdoors but for goodness sake this is the 21st Century - there are millions of overweight lazy people in existence!! If this "gadget" gets just one more person onto an exercise routine or even just gets them to raise their pulse for a few extra minutes each week then its a good thing!! Shame on anyone who voted for it! Rant over!! And yes I have got one!!!
p.s. whilst the prius is an awful looking car and does have 2 engines - at least its a step in the right direction!!


LOL Layla...And I thought I was the only person who has ever watched Monk LOL :-D

Hi Karin - it's amazing what a creative world we are isn't it. There's always a solution for every little problem. I wonder which ones your son's got. Bet it's not the motorised ice-cream cone :-D

LOL Baba rant away - It's not the use of the wii Fit that is the problem. As you say, if it gets some people up and jigging around then it's good. However it's those people like me who should know know better and buy it with every good intention but after a few weeks or months when the novelty wears off they end up hiding it away with all the home exercise videos. Not that I've got a wii Fit of course, I signed up to the local fitness club instead. I went twice, then the novelty wore off....oh hum... I blame it on blogging :-D x

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