Whether it is programmed, planned, or observed, when a product becomes obsolete, it has an impact on consumers’ wallets and generates tons of waste. How can we slow this trend down and contribute to the planet’s wellbeing? We have observations and tips for you.
The various faces of obsolescence
Amélie Côté is Analyst, Reduction at the Source at Équiterre. She immediately establishes three types of obsolescence: economic, technological, and psychological.
“Economic obsolescence is related to a product’s quality/price ratio. Think a new product sold for less than the cost to fix it.” Consumers rebuy and get rid of the old merchandise as a result.
Technological obsolescence is “linked to improvements to the product’s features.” Software updates that suddenly slow down your computer or phone, or the inability to replace the battery in certain electronics are examples of technological obsolescence.
Finally, the psychological dimension is “influenced by trends. Several consumers feel a need for change.” However, changing your wardrobe “to follow a new trend” or “modernizing” your kitchen has a real impact on budget and environmental plans.
Is there such a thing as programmed obsolescence? “It’s more difficult to prove,” answers the specialist. “One thing is certain: programmed or not, the poor quality of certain pieces or components sold at very low prices accelerates obsolescence.” In other words, it sets off the toss-and-buy-again cycle.