In recent years, people feel things are becoming less durable, especially smartphones. This phenomenon is undeniable in electronic products. For example, the printers that people use only print tens of thousands of sheets of paper and then they are scrapped, smartphones are updated faster and faster, and cars have to be “laid off” after a certain mileage… Is it true that the quality of the goods people buy is degraded? Do we really need new products to replace them? In fact, people are caught in the trap of “planned obsolescence” by the manufacturer.
What is planned obsolescence?
Planned obsolescence is a policy that designs a product with a limited useful life, so it becomes useless or is regarded as unfashionable after a period of time.
Why do they do this?
Simply because planned obsolescence can benefit manufacturers in the long run, consumers will buy similar products again if they still need to continue using the product after scrapping. Companies are, indeed, pouring out new devices at an incredible rate. Some customers are enticed by the possibility of buying the most recent edition, whilst others are not in a hurry to purchase a new product. Companies, of course, want profits so they can keep making innovative and “enhanced” products and young people will always be enticed to buy the new edition due to the fear of having an outdated product.
“Planned obsolescence” brings environmental concerns.
Planned obsolescence has serious effects on the environment, according to an article in sustainability for all, up to 50 million tons of electronic waste are produced every year, about 85% of them are being dumped and winding up in landfills in developing countries, posing a threat to the environment and the human health, animals, and plants.
Mobile phones are constantly updated, and consumption continues to update iteratively, but the recycling system for used mobile phones is almost blank. According to statistics from the United Nations Environment Program, only 20% of the world’s e-waste was safely recycled in 2016. A large number of scrap electronic products were reduced to e-waste, landfilled or illegally sold to other developing countries. Most of these electronic wastes were finally dismantled savagely, causing severe environmental pollution and health risks to the local area.
Redefine mobile phones and say no to planned obsolescence.
The problems with smart products do not end when a consumer is ready to repair or upgrade their devices. Major mobile phone manufacturers continuously produce design decisions that restrict an individual’s ability to replace the battery or add more storage space to their device. As a result, if the phone is broken, needs to place a new battery, or the user outgrows the storage space, all the money, energy, and human effort invested in its production are wasted. People want to purchase new smartphones because the existing models’ operating systems do not function well. The latest operating systems have more storage space and run faster, but they are incompatible with older models.
Smartphones contain over 60 elements, including precious metals and rare metals, such as gold, silver, palladium, copper, cobalt, palladium, gallium, indium, zinc, tungsten tantalum. The backward recycling system and technology have seriously hindered the recycling and reuse of these precious resources.
Despite the controversy, the technology industry is booming; Facing the planned obsolescence, what choice should the customer make? If you choose not to be led by manufacturers anymore, stop buying the newest edition, let them know we need more durable and sustainable products. It’s time for manufacturers to hearing the voices of users asking for changes!