Planned obsolescence and responsible consumption


Planned obsolescence is the premeditated planning of the end of a product’s useful life by its manufacturer.

Keeping a product in optimum condition does not guarantee a longer shelf life. In many cases, their life span is controlled.

When a product breaks down, we usually opt to buy a new one because it is cheaper than taking it to a service center.

What is planned obsolescence?

It consists of planning in a premeditated way the useful life of the products by the manufacturer. 

This control is carried out by means of a chip with specific information so that it stops working when such conditions occur.

The economic crisis of 1929 brought with it this term and a law to put an expiration date on products in search of profitability for companies.

Consequences of planned obsolescence

From the environmental point of view:

  • Use of a large amount of natural resources due to the continuous production of products. Emphasizing the scarcity of some of the natural resources used to manufacture some products.
  • Waste accumulation. All equipment that will no longer be used is disposed of, and poor management can result in it ending up in illegal landfills. As they contain elements that can contaminate soil or water, it is important to manage them correctly and extend their useful life in order to reduce the amount of waste generated.

From the social point of view:

  • Encourages consumption. Planned obsolescence is one more incentive to increase consumption.
  • Geopolitical conflicts. Some of the materials used in the manufacture of certain electronic devices are so scarce and valuable that they lead to geopolitical conflicts over their exploitation.
  • Underdeveloped countries end up being the dumping grounds for developed countries. 

The International Iberoamerican University (UNIB) offers a wide range of university programs focused on training professionals in the environmental field. One of the courses offered is the Master in Environmental Management and Auditing

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