Planned Obsolescence

Planned Obsolescence

According to the UN, we generate around 50 million tons of electronic gadgets waste every year. But until very recently a light bulb could last for almost forever as you can see this incandescent bulb made in the 19th century still lasts.

Nowadays things don't seem made to last. It is called planned obsolescence: objects are designed with short life span to encourage the consumer to buy a new one but they are also markted to the consumer as high quality products. This way when the manufacturer brings out new products or services as a replacement for the "old" ones, the consumer feels the need to buy these new ones.

Smartphones are good examples since they are designed for the current technology and some time after you can no longer use it because the applications stop working or even because the plugs that fit the phone for charging are now different (this is very common with computers also). Hence new models are always coming out with new features to lures us into consumption, generating huge amounts of electronic waste, usually in developing countries without regulations on waste recycling. These pieces of electronic waste contain huge amounts of dangerous chemical substances that are serious threat to Humans and nature including toxic and carcinogenic substances. Read a bit more here.

We, as consumers, also contribute to this situation, because we don't want to pay high prices for repairs of the electronic devices or because we constantly demand better quality and innovation. Problems like battery short life span or applications that stop updating, make us want to change.

There are already some companies trying to change this consuming madness like Tesla, that is trying to take back the spent batteries in their clients cars and reuse them for home energy storage and Google that is developing a project for a smartphone that can swap outdated components. But this isn't enough.

France has recently taken measures against planned obsolescence that can take businessmen to jail. We, consumers, can contribute consuming less, being more demanding and trying to buy long lasting machines and gadgets, demanding longer warranties, recycling our electronic waste properly, buying second hand and supporting brands that create products that last and that have sustainable practices

. Please, be a conscious consumer!