I (Barb) recently read the book “The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse” by David Owen. I would give it 4/5 stars. It had many thought provoking ideas/observations.
Planned obselence was one of those areas I hadn’t really thought much about before reading this book.
Some of the ways manufacturers “trick” us with planned obselence:
- new features
- more comfort
- more efficient
Businesses need to make us feel ok about the purchase for their own economic outlook. They don’t care that their “old” product ends up in a landfill – as long as we keep buying!
So how have we fallen into the planned obselence trap?
- New car with increased fuel efficiency. Granted our newest car is over 5 years old.
- New cell phone because old phone wasn’t able to be updated. Hubby’s iPhone 3 couldn’t be updated.
- New computer since old operating system couldn’t handle certain programs. Windows XP
- New computer since operating system wouldn’t have any more security updates. Windows XP
- New land line phone that would operate cordlessly.
- Purchase of new appliances. Quieter dishwasher.
This list could go on, but you get the idea. Some of these items have a limited “life expectancy”. Their internal parts allow only a certain amount of use. Manufacturers know this! Repairs are next to impossible or the cost of a new item is more reasonable economically – get a new model for the same amount.
This has us rethinking much of the stuff we own. How can we cut down on falling for the planned obselence trap? Why do we need to use energy resources when an “old-fashion” method would work just as well? What can we do to decrease our “planned obselence” waste? Awareness is key!