“We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them.” – Neil LaBute
If the rest of the world consumed the way Europeans do, we would need the equivalent of two‐and-a-half planets to meet the demand for resources.
Usable products and device components are scrapped at an alarming rate instead of being salvaged, fixed, and reused. By 2050, our level of consumption of minerals, fossil fuels and biomass will reach 140billion tonnes, over double the current amount.
Products must be durable, easy and affordable to repair, and information on these aspects clearly available to consumers. Half the respondents to a recent EU survey said they decided against repairing a faulty product in the past 12 months because repair costs were too high. 92% agreed that the lifespan of products available on the market should be indicated.
As one of the fastest growing sectors, electric and electronic products are the first candidates for increased repair and longevity —but the principles could equally be applied to textiles, furniture and other products. Legal changes and economic incentives are needed to promote product durability and repair, requiring a coordinated approach with all stakeholders -including policy makers, manufacturers, consumers, reuse organisations, recyclers and environmental NGOs.
The benefits of improved durability and reparability
- For the environment: prolonging the lifespan of products avoids their early replacement by new products. To reduce the depletion of natural resources, it is crucial to maximise the utilization of the precious materials already contained in everyday products. Environmentally, it is optimal to give appliances a second life – either by repairing them, reselling them, refurbishing them or at least remanufacturing and recycling the most vital components.
|By 2050, our level of consumption of minerals, fossil fuels and biomass will reach 140 billion tonnes, over double the current amount|
Download the Joint Mission Statement Sustainable consumption and production: improving product durability and reparability PDF: Joint-Mission-Statement-on-Product-Repair-and-Durability