As the European Commission decides today on its long delayed Eco-design plans, a new study shows that to how long a product lasts and its cost to the consumer is heavily dependant on its design.
The study highlights that easily broken, hard-to-repair products frustrate consumers, cost more money and create unnecessary waste. It urges the Commission to extend its eco-design rules to more consumer products as a matter of priority.
The analysis, from UK think tank Green Alliance, shows that a world where smartphone screens don’t crack, washing machines can be fixed rather than having to be replaced and solar panels can be reused rather than crushed at the end of their first life is not fantasy. It highlights that eco-design standards offer the double win of better and cheaper products for consumers while saving valuable resources.
It states that a simple shift in the rules could deliver a wider range of better quality products for consumers. For example, eco-design standards could ensure more durable mobile phones, guaranteeing screens that are much less likely to break, and are quicker and cheaper to replace when they do.
It’s not complicated: simple design changes make the difference between long lasting products and premature obsolescence.
Co- author of the study, Dustin Benton, commented:
“Right now, consumers across Europe are getting a raw deal on product quality, but European policy makers don’t seem to want to do anything about it. It’s not complicated: simple design changes make the difference between long lasting products and premature obsolescence.
We need the Commission to be our champion by setting stronger eco-design rules for a wider range of products, and not continue to fudge the issue.”