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Restart Radio: How long our stuff should last

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There is a quite widespread perception that things do not last as long as they used to. How does this impact what we say and, more importantly, what we do? Researcher Alex Gnanapragasam focuses on sustainable consumption and product lifetimes in his work with the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (based at Nottingham Trent University).

We talked about how people have different expectations for different categories of consumer goods. And that while we say we want long-lasting products, our buying patterns for some types of products, like electronic gadgets, show the opposite. But then other products are a genuine source of frustration – household appliances are great example.

We asked if consumers consider embodied carbon and virtual water – the invisible impacts of manufacture – which increase the urgency of extending product lifetimes.

And to close we discussed “lifespan labelling” and cost-per-year estimations – whether they could help consumers make greener, more satisfying decisions.

Links we mentioned

[Gnanapragasam’s research into consumer expectations of product lifetimes is undertaken with financial support from the EPSRC, grant reference EP/N022645/1]

[Feature image “DIETER RAMS—Design Museum” by Flickr user toby___ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0]

One response

  1. regarding designed obsolescence of computing devices, this project is making a solution for this by changing the design to a libre standard modular approach where the brains are separated from device aka housing into a computer(the brains) card that is independent of the housing/device. so the computer cards can be swaped and/or upgrade and reused or sold on. so they are now in a nice standard package that enable people to reuse those computer cards, the cpus,ram etc which are some of the most costly parts of a device, environment/resource wise. keeping then out of landfill as long as possible. it also enables lots of little helper devices in the long run, cus people can buy a cheap or pop in there old computer card to get a freedom box for example, its a personal communications butler with privacy in mind, or a co-location web host can buy them for cheap web hosting, or give them to kids, etc, etc. this design combined with software libre principles, enables so much. when i read about this project i was really excited and have keenly followed them for the last few years and made a pledge in there (successful) crowdfund. so this isnt a marketing post but one of someone keenly trying to share project they care about while leaning how/what to write ;). i hope your able to extract out of this some idea of what this means and understand while im so hopeful about this project.

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