The Negative Impact of Planned Obsolescence

The Negative Impact of Planned Obsolescence

You may not have heard of the term "planned obsolescence" before, but chances are you've been a victim of it. Planned obsolescence is the deliberate expiration date placed on products by manufacturers in order to force consumers to buy new items and keep the economy moving. While this may not seem like a big deal at first, the negative impacts of planned obsolescence are far-reaching and damaging. Here are just a few reasons why planned obsolescence is a problem.

Planned obsolescence creates mountains of waste. 

When products are designed to break or become outdated after just a few years of use, that creates a lot of waste. In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, the fashion industry alone produces 92 million tons of waste each year—and that number is only increasing. Not only does this waste clog up our landfills and damage the environment, but it also takes a toll on our economy. The United States alone spends $380 billion each year to dispose of waste from obsolescent products. 

Planned obsolescence hurts our wallets. 

Wealthy people may not feel the pinch as much when they have to replace their iPhone every year or buy a new wardrobe for their kids twice a year, but for families living paycheck to paycheck, getting rid of perfectly good clothes and electronics because they're "out of style" can be devastating. In fact, many people argue that planned obsolescence is a key contributor to income inequality. 

Planned obsolescence undermines innovation. 

If we're constantly buying new products because our old ones are falling apart or going out of style, that doesn't give manufacturers much incentive to make their products better or create truly innovative designs. After all, why bother making your products last longer or designing something truly unique when you know people will just replace them in a year or two anyway? 

Planned obsolescence may seem like a victimless crime, but its negative impacts are far-reaching and destructive. From creating mountains of waste to fueling income inequality, planned obsolescence is bad news for everyone involved—except maybe the manufacturers who profit from it. It's time for consumers to demand change and for manufacturers to start making quality products that will stand the test of time. Otherwise, we'll all end up paying the price eventually.

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