PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

what is planned obsolescence made to break


British Dictionary definitions for planned obsolescence:

The policy of deliberately limiting the life of a product in order to encourage the purchaser to replace it: Also called: built-in obsolescence.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

Contrived durability

This kind of planned obsolescence is of using physical material that will break or deteriorate faster than other options.

An example of this in electronics is for producers to purposely choose to use cheap plastic or soft metals that have a shorter lifespan than other alternatives and therefore making the product less durable.

Prevention of repair

This a well known planned obsolescence used by for example Apple, where it’s hard to repair or change battery, where you need special tools to even unscrew the screws used in the devices making it even harder for customers to repair themselves.

When the products are made difficult to impossible to repair yourself, it is often cheaper to buy a new product than to pay a specialist to repair it.

Batteries is one of the most common pieces of electronics that are prevented to be repaired. While the design of phones for example can be thinner when the battery is placed in a way to be irreplaceable, making the phone itself stuck with an aging battery and therefor losing it’s quality while the rest of the phone is still fully functioning.

The lowered battery performance is often one of the main reasons people feel the need to renew to a new phone, since getting a new battery isn’t a choice, and in many cases if it is replaces the warranty of the product can be lost.

Perceived obsolescence

This is an obsolescence where consumers are made to think their product is no longer desirable or that it is old and out of fashion.

This is very common in fast fashion but also in the technology business, especially when in comes to mobile phones. Releasing new models once or more a year, with slightly better software or slightly different design quickly makes your new phone several seasons old.

Systemic obsolescence

This technique is to systematically make a product obsolete by altering systems or functions that won’t work with the older products.

Such as no longer being able to maintain or where the manufacturer stop supporting the systems.

Some examples:

New software updates that don’t work on older models or where old software programs don’t work on newer models as deliberate choice by the manufacturers.

Another example is where they remove their service to repair products of a certain age, and this is typically a problem with products that are designed not to be repaired by the consumer. Like with a built in battery for example.

However, luckily there are third parties who offer their service to repair most type of technology.

Programmed obsolescence

This is a very lucrative kind of obsolescence, where the products are programmed to stop functioning after a certain amount of uses. Such as x hours of use or x amount of printed papers on a printer.

Obsolescence by depletion

This example is where the products rely on secondary consumables.

One of the most common examples of this is the toners for printers that seem to come in an infinite amount of shapes. The manufacturers stop producing ink/toners for printer models after a certain amount of time, making it harder to find toners for your specific printer with time. Ending up creating a need to get an entirely new printer.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO COMBAT PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE?

France has recently taken strong measures against planned obsolescence, and businessmen will be liable to prison sentences and companies will be liable to fines of up to €300,000 if these kinds of practices are found to be performed.

  • Demand longer warranties for the products and spare parts guaranteed.
  • Recycle our electronic waste properly and demand manufacturers eliminate dangerous substances contained in these products.
  • Support those brands who are creating products that are made to last.
  • Don’t buy new. Go for second hand and vote with your dollars that you do not want to take part in this environmentally destructive business plan.

FOR MORE POSTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS:

E-WASTE


MORE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS COMING SOON:

MINING FOR MINERALS

INTERNET IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MODERN SLAVERY IN THE ELECTRONICS INDURSTY

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE


Sources:

https://www.economist.com/news/2009/03/23/planned-obsolescence

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160612-heres-the-truth-about-the-planned-obsolescence-of-tech

https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-planned-obsolescence-definition-examples.html

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/23/were-are-all-losers-to-gadget-industry-built-on-planned-obsolescence

https://www.activesustainability.com/environment/planned-obsolescence-the-serious-problem-of-electronic-waste/

https://lexiconsystems.wordpress.com/tag/systemic-obsolescence/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

E-WASTE

what is e-waste what happens to electronic waste

ELECTRONIC-WASTE

How often do you buy a new phone?

Do you get a new phone when your old one breaks, is beyond repair or just because you want to update to a more modern one?

What do you do with your old phone, laptop or other electronics when they no longer serve you purpose? Do they stay tucked in a drawer somewhere in the house, do you sell it, throw it away or recycle it?

Did you know that electronics contains valuable materials like gold, copper, silver and palladium? As well a lot of metals and materials that are harmful for people, animals and the environment?

Photo is a print screen of Evelina on her phone from the ZDF documentary No Plan B

E-WASTE

When electronic products come to the end of their life, they become waste. Electronic waste.

In 2016, around 45 millions tons of electronics were thrown away.

But what happens to the product once it’s discarded of, or preferably recycled? 

“E-Waste is a term used to cover items of all types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and its parts that have been discarded by the owner as waste without the intention of re-use.”

WHERE DOES THE E-WASTE GO?

There’s a big chance it is shipped off to or dumped in Guiyu, China or Agbogbloshie, Ghana. Some people do run proper businesses recycling the e-waste that is shipped there according to agreements but in many cases, especially in Ghana a lot of the e-waste is illegally dumped there.

In the EU it is illegal to export e-waste to developing countries, and yet a lot of it does end up in these places anyways.

The way it is illegally imported is in disguise as used electronics (for second hand use) but the shipments are filled with or mixed with irreparable e-waste instead.

HOW IS THE WASTE HANDLED AND BY WHOM

In many places where e-waste ends up, it is poorly paid locals who disassemble the electronic waste, often in unsafe ways using toxic chemicals to separate the valuable components.

Many parts of the waste are also being burned, releasing heavy metals like lead, beryllium and cadmium which pollutes the soil, water and air.

While there are known health risks from dealing with lead and mercury, there has been little research on the effects on health and the environment with many of the other elements used in electronics.

But even when e-waste is recycled in safer conditions in countries like Australia, there’s still a high environmental cost from the industrial smelting.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE IT BETTER

The first step in making the life cycle of electronics safer and more sustainable, is to make sure the working electronics you have are being used by you or someone else, to make the need for new electronics smaller and to repair what can be fixed.

The second step is to recycle the electronics that are irreparable, and to make sure it is going to a certified e-recycling facility.

When recycled the components that normally takes mining to retrieve can be reused and therefor save resources and some pollution that comes with the mining.

The third step is to stop changing your electronics before they are beyond repair. The cost of electronics is a lot higher than the price you pay in money.


MORE POSTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ELECTRONICS COMING SOON:

MINING FOR MINERALS

INTERNET IS BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MODERN SLAVERY IN THE ELECTRONICS INDURSTY

PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE


SOURCES:

https://info.mayermetals.com/blog/5-shocking-environmental-effects-of-e-waste

https://www.forbes.com/sites/vianneyvaute/2018/10/29/recycling-is-not-the-answer-to-the-e-waste-crisis/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_waste

https://www.eterra.com.ng/articles/impacts-e-waste-environment

collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:6349/PiP_Report.pdf


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here