As you may have guessed from the title Britain is a throw away society. Long gone are the days of buying an item at home or at work that is expected to last 20 years or more, now the average lifespan is somewhere around 5 years.
The item simply does not matter, this issue effects everything from a pair of jeans to your phone, washing machine and fridge freezer. If they break in most cases, you replace them.
But should we?
Manufactures make it more and more difficult to keep your items for the long term. While integrated batteries, regular updates and the latest function all seem like a space saving design and fantastic service they ultimately force us to upgrade. When the integrated battery no longer holds charge, or the service updates end, and the software will not manage the latest programs we move on to the next thing and the old item goes in the bin.
Some will argue this is progression and innovation, and to be fair I would be one of them in some cases, but how much better can a fridge get at chilling food? How much cleaner can your washing machine clean your clothes? And can the item find life somewhere else rather than the bin? Some items should not be so easily disposable, some items we should look at and decide to spend that little bit more on.
What can We do?
By doing just a little bit of research into items we purchase we can choose an item that is going to stand the test of time, one example of this is in laundry equipment. A domestic washing machine usually has an expected life span of around 2000 cycles, a commercial one by comparison can be as many as 30,000! Yes, they cost more money at the outset, but this would be the equivalent of buying 15 domestic washing machines in the same lifespan.
This issue was recently highlighted by restart, who are fighting for people to repair their product rather than throw them away. Manufacturers are now being pressured to look at the way they design the products and give us the right to repair what we buy.
When we look to future purchasing, we should always consider the following:
- Is the equipment we are buying suitable for the role?
- What is the longevity of the item, how long is it expected to last?
- Can the equipment be repaired to extend its life?
If we follow these simple rules, we should be making an informed choice and making the most of our money rather than following the false economy of consistently buying and replacing.