Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can we declare war on planned obsolescence?

This article was posted on the New Jersey page at The New York Times:
Time to Buy a New Stove. Again.
...I wish it were placed somewhere more prominent so that everyone would read it.

The refrigerator repairman had waxed philosophical, holding the defunct thermostat aloft like poor Yorick’s skull. “Plastic!” he boomed. “They all used to be metal.” His glumness should have warned me that planned obsolescence has reached the level of infinite jest.

The article/opinion piece (I recommend reading all of it) bemoans planned obsolescence as it applies to large home appliences-- stoves, in particular. As an apartment renter I've never felt the pain of replacing a major appliance. But I know the feeling when it comes to smaller kitchen appliances, cell phones, iPods, computers, TVs, DVD players, furniture, clothing, radios...

You name it, if it was made recently, it wasn't made to last. It also wasn't made to be repaired. It WAS made to be replaced. And it was probably made with plastic and came in a lot of unecessary packaging.

Can we stop that now, please?


SusanB said...

Hi -- I come to you via Fake Plastic Fish (and the Take Back the Filter yahoo group). Good luck on your plastic free quest.
This NYT article resonated with me -- the tub faucets the previous owner installed in my bathroom are failing/have failed because due to a plastic component, we hope to be able to replace with brass but we may have to go with plastic again depending on the shape of the inside valve (as ripping out walls isn't in my budget or immediate skillset).

John Costigane said...

Hi Juli,

Being a Zero Waste enthusiast from Scotland, UK, I find Beth a great contact.

Obsolescence is a big issue. Take razors (for both sexes) for instance, 3 top sportsmen promote the brand leader. with its must-have new product. I ditched this game with an old-style safety type. Best thing I ever did.

Juli said...

Thanks for your comments, SusanB and John! Beth is a wonder. If I do any good with this here blog, it is because of her.

Yeah, razors. I've been using a Mach 3 for several years with replaceable heads. A cartridge of 4 blade heads will last me well over a year. Which tells you something about my legs. And my dating status.

When the blade supply runs out I will be looking into Beth's safety razor alternative, but it will be many months from now.

Martin said...

While you're waiting for the last of your razors to get used up, keep an eye out for Barbasol shaving cream in a glass jar. I am curious as to whether it is readily available in a big market like NYC.