Planned obsolescence - is that a thing?
'Planned Obsolescence', unfortunately, is a thing. It refers to a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, rendering it obsolete (i.e., unfashionable, or no longer functional) after a certain period of time.
Take a look around, haven't we all fallen victim in one way or the other to it? Your phones and most of your electronic devices are upgraded with tiny changes every 6 months, immediately making your brand new acquisition seem dated.
New styles and seasonal colours make it impossible to stay trendy unless you buy and replace clothes and accessories regularly. Clothes are made to last for just a few wears, does that seem right?
Why do we keep buying ink cartridges for our printers? I would assume that we are technologically advanced enough to create refillable cartridges, but then we wouldn't keep buying new ones, would we? Similarly, cookware - one scratch, and the cookware turns harmful.
Look around you, you will find numerous examples in your homes.
Planned obsolescence is a strategy used by large corporations to increase consumption and boost sales.
It is an unethical practice, let's understand why.
Resources are used up in abundance to produce these products, and they end up being trashed when most of the product can still be used. The disposed products poison the environment. Every year, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste are generated, around 85% of which is usually discarded randomly, ending up in landfills, creating a risk for the environment and impacting the health of people, animals and plants.
Do you remember those old Casio watches? In this era of rampant consumerism, Casio is timeless (no pun intended), a once 'advanced' device that has been available for a quarter century and still does exactly what it was created to do. Batteries don't run out and screens don't crack easily - they were made to last.
As consumers, the ball is in our court. When we choose wisely and demand products that are durable, manufacturers will have no choice but to comply.
Let's decide to be judicious customers - through our every decision and every action, we are capable of designing a better future.