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European Economical and Social Committee calls for a total ban on planned obsolence.

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posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 07:35 AM

For the first time, an EU institution is looking into the positive aspects of a total ban on planned obsolescence: more jobs, better consumer protection and a boost to sustainable development. The EESC has today issued an opinion on product lifetimes and consumer information to combat the business strategy of obsolescence.

Obsolescence is not always down to wear and tear. By its very nature, the fashion industry, for example, is built around consumer demand for new and different styles not the durability of individual garments. But even here, turnover is becoming faster and new models are often designed to make their predecessors look ugly or out-of-date.

Bulbs that burn out after a certain time, batteries that run out within a set period or clothes that quickly fall out of fashion are just a few examples of planned obsolescence - products that are designed to stop working within two or three years of their purchase, shortly after the expiry of their guarantee. Replacing these products means using up additional energy and resources, which generates more waste and harmful pollution.

Mr Haber has encountered numerous products that are designed to stop working within two or three years of their purchase – shortly after the expiry of their guarantee. Replacing them means using up additional energy and resources and this generates more waste and harmful pollution. This has already incited consumers in several countries to take action.

“The EESC would like to see a total ban on products with built-in defects designed to end the product’s life,” explains Mr Libaert, the opinion's rapporteur and a member of the EESC. He wants companies to make goods easier to repair through the supply of replacement parts, for example. And consumers should also be given better information about a product's estimated life expectancy to allow them to make more informed purchasing decisions.

Ideally, the Committee proposes a labelling system that would guarantee a minimum product lifetime – at present this is not a legal requirement. “Companies need to do a lot of research to guarantee the lifetime of a product and at present they do not do enough,” Mr Haber observes. Furthermore, manufacturers should also cover the cost of recycling if their goods have an expected lifetime of less than five years.

From an environmental perspective, Europe’s consumption of natural resources has increased by some 50 % over the last 30 years: we consume 43 kg of resources per person per day, compared with just 10 kg per person in Africa. In social terms, the rapid disposability of consumer goods has encouraged purchasing on credit, leading to unprecedented levels of personal debt.

Damage to public health is not only caused by local waste disposal and incineration but also by the practice of exporting waste, sometimes illegally, to developing countries that have less stringent regulations. Culturally, perceptions of in-built obsolescence are eroding consumer trust in industry. Lastly, Europe’s economy is being undermined by imports of products with a short lifetime. “By tackling this issue, the EU would be offering its companies a way of standing out from its competitors by effectively putting sustainability into practice.”

“Our purpose is to help improve confidence in our European businesses,” concludes Mr Libaert. But at the same time, the EESC wants to drive the EU towards an economic transition “from a wasteful society to one that is sustainable, where growth is geared towards consumer needs – with a people-oriented approach – and is not an end in itself.”

In a long time, one of articles that made me smile
Very positive news. The consumption is increasing fast and most companies are trying to design shorter product cycles in order for people to change more often either by not selling replacements parts [one example would be laptop battery rechargers. Couple of months ago I bought one universal one - the cable consists of 2 separate parts and 10 universal tips for charging different computer. After using it for a while, the tip I use broke down (largely due to low quality). In order to change the tip, I need to buy full new set, so the 2 cable parts and 9 tips go for waste or recycling (which also takes energy). Such thing should be banned ] or letting the product go out of fashion by extreme marketing campaign (fashion designers, from tech Apple products for example use such an extreme marketing so people would get new phone/laptop even if the old one is working properly.

I sincerely this will pass soon. Very positive to hear someone on higher levels of power is trying to deal with the issue.

edit on 3-11-2013 by Cabin because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 07:58 AM
well that might be good for alot people, but I get alot free stuff that breaks down that some are unable to fix themselves,,oh well

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 08:36 AM
Whilst it is long overdue and sounds very good in principle, the wheels of Democracy turn slowly and the wheels of European level democracy turn even slower.

Don't expect much in the way of anything this side of 2020...

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 08:36 AM
This is a
long over-due,
self-evident need,
that hopefully others see!

Its great what the EU wish to do,
wonder about the red, white and blue,
with its members so few (5% of world population)
whose consumption has grew and grew and grew (25% of world resources).


posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 08:41 AM
reply to post by Cabin

Although I agree entirely with the sentiment behind this, I have the impression that making things which will soon need to be replaced is "good" for the economy, and "good" for jobs.
Or should I say essential to capitalism.
It depletes resources, and ties people into worthless jobs --
but it's an unavoidable feature of the way we live.

I run a 1978 motorcycle which was made to be repaired and maintained indefinitely. It's within my capabilities to do so.
Anything more recent would require Cape Canaveral to keep it functioning.
I remember when I could fix anything in the house with a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and a soldering iron.
Now I need a bloody light sabre to turn on the TV.

If these people are saying "Let's live a different way," I'm with them...
(but we'll have to turn the world upside-down).

If they are saying "Let's pull this stone from the foundations of our society and see what happens ............"

I'll watch from over here.


posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 08:41 AM

well that might be good for alot people, but I get alot free stuff that breaks down that some are unable to fix themselves,,oh well

HA Ha! You and me both brother!

I have kept the same refrigerator, washer, dryer, going way past their "useful life expectancy".
Also alot of other repaired/restored items in my life that depend on parts from the "curb" or obscure on-line parts sources.
I have a micro-convection oven I bought new in 1987, just replace the bearing and drive belt every 5 years or so.

I have a 1981 toyota pickup that I love. (easy to love something that never lets you down).

We are living off the waste and prejudice of other lazy comsumers...

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 08:57 AM

Bulbs that burn out after a certain time, batteries that run out within a set period...

Bulbs that burn out? If you're talking about incandescent bulbs there is some physics involved in how long they will burn. The life of the filament is inversely proportional to the current to the 4th power. So, as you decrease the current a little, the life is extended dramatically. But, so is the amount and quality of light. If you want a bright, full spectrum light you have to burn the filament hot enough to make that light, but you will pay for it in life of the filament. In summary, you can't have your cake and eat it too. High quality light or long life, you cannot have both.

Batteries? Again, physics is involved here. There are better batteries, but be ready to lay down the coin. You get what you pay for.

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 09:32 AM
reply to post by Galileo400

Or... electrical relays that could go for millions of cycles but instead are dropped down to 50,000 or 100,000 in order to take out other parts of a vehicle's drivetrain. For example: The Mitsubishi Evolution X has a system of hi pulse/low pulse relays that control the fuel pump. Upon expiration of these relays the fuel pump no longer pumps on the high cycle causing your engine to run lean. This ultimately results in a blown motor. There is no way to tell if your relays have gone bad unless you have an air/fuel meter installed.

This is a wonderful example of planned obsolescence as this is not just limited to Mitsubishi. Many manufacturers do this. Another example is the Toyota Prius. When it's accelerator pedal position sensor fails it defaults to wide open (thinking you have the pedal pressed to the floor). Unintended acceleration sells parts too. They don't make money by selling something that lasts forever. That way of thinking has sailed.

I wouldn't care for a ban on planned obsolescence myself. However, I would love for the government to subsidize companies that aim to make a completely recyclable product. The higher the recyclability(new word/point for me) then the higher the subsidy. I would also love to see them do this for companies that manufacture in the US, but that is another discussion.

: )

I'm totally for leaving our children a future, not a trash heap.

posted on Nov, 3 2013 @ 10:56 AM
Great stuff! My kitchen is stocked with appliances some older than me. Old mixers, electric frying pans, blenders, toaster, you name it. Most only need the power cord replaced as they used to make them from cloth in the old days.
My dad was a wizard when it came to keeping things working and it was a rare day we threw anything out and bought a new one. We even had a '72 Plymouth Fury with over 250,000 miles on it.
Wish I could fix stuff like my dad used to but I'm just not as handy, but I try! It only makes sense to build products that last as long as possible and rarely takes much more in terms of engineering or resources to make it that way instead of planned obsolescence.
Now all my retro appliances are hip again, stainless steel and bakelite in all it's glory.
edit on 3-11-2013 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)

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