Combating Throwaway Culture: The Importance of Product Lifespan
Are the products you buy made to last, or are they disposable?
As more and more products are designed for single-use or shorter lifespans, the world is entering a phase of throwaway culture. Instead of servicing broken products or passing used, working items along to someone else, we are now more likely to dispose of them and buy something new.
While it may seem harmless to buy a plastic water bottle or a trendy item of clothing, these types of products add to a considerable level of waste. As a result, our environment suffers and we end up spending more money replacing single-use items over and over again.
"Seeking out products that are made to last can greatly reduce the footprint left on our world and provide a better value over time"
We can combat this cycle of short product lifespans and high waste by educating ourselves on product lifespan. Seeking out products that are made to last can greatly reduce the footprint left on our world and provide a better value over time.
DID YOU KNOW? Experts have estimated that the amount of water used to prepare one pair of jeans and a T shirt is sufficient for a person to drink for 13 years.
What is product lifespan?
The lifespan of a product includes all of the time from when it is sold to when it is discarded. Products with longer lifespans are meant to last for years, while single-use products have incredibly short lifespans. A great example of product lifespan is the difference between a plastic water bottle and a reusable container. With a plastic water bottle, you drink the water before throwing the bottle away. A reusable bottle can be washed and refilled many times, lasting for months or years.
Buying a product with a long lifespan does not mean that you are stuck with the same item for years. Smartphones are an example of possession span. You may own a smartphone for two years before trading in your device for the latest model. Your old phone is refurbished and purchased by someone else, so it’s lifespan continues past your usage. Products that are made to be serviced, just as replacing parts or adding upgrades, tend to have longer lifespans because they can be repaired instead of thrown away.
Benefits of long-lifespan products
Products with longer lifespans often carry a higher price tag and require maintenance or upkeep. The added cost and work may cause you to wonder why you should shop for products that have longer lifetimes. While these items may have a greater upfront cost, the value and duration of the item are typically increased as well.
Over time, products with longer lifespans can improve the environment, reduce waste, and offer a better overall value. For example, purchasing a high-quality vacuum, like one made by Dyson, requires a considerable investment. However, customers are able to use their vacuum for many years, often passing the item on to someone else for further use. On the other hand, purchasing a lesser quality vacuum may be cheaper upfront, but you will have to replace the item more frequently. Products with shorter lifespans can ultimately end up costing more over time.
We often hear the phrase, “you get what you pay for.” That mantra is especially true when it comes to product lifespan. While the initial cost for these items may be higher, the price should be considered as an investment. Higher quality items are typically more durable, so you don’t have to worry about your favorite product breaking or giving out on you when you need it the most. The benefits of long-lifespan products include reduced waste, lower energy usage, and increased value.
"The benefits of long-lifespan products include reduced waste, lower energy usage, and increased value"
1. Improved Carbon Footprint
Making a product, whether it be a water bottle, a dress, or a car, requires time and energy. From factories that utilize fossil fuels to plants running on natural resources, energy is embodied in carbon and contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. By purchasing products with longer lifespans, you can help slow down the resource loop and reduce the amount of energy used to create everyday necessities.
2. Reduced Environmental Waste
Often referred to as a generation of waste or a throwaway society, our modern world thrives on products that are not built to last. Fast fashion that keeps up with the latest trends results in clothing made to only last a season before ending up in the trash. Single-use products like plastic water bottles, paper goods, and plastic straws pollute our oceans and damage our environment.
While there are many innovators striving to reduce the impact of waste on our world, we can make a difference by purchasing higher quality products. For example, a reusable water bottle that lasts years can keep countless plastic bottles and cups out of landfills and oceans. Similarly, timeless pieces of clothing can be worn year-round or passed down to future generations, preventing tons of textile waste each year.
3. Increased Product Value
Products that are built to last are often serviceable. Parts can be replaced or upgraded to continue using the product for many years. Instead of throwing a product away and purchasing something new, you can get more value out of your investment. Once you are finished using a product, it can be passed on to the next generation, donated to someone in need, or sold and used by someone else. Upgrades and interchangeable parts also let you keep up with the latest trends or make repairs without getting rid of something that still works.
Commit to Longer Product Lifespans
A reduction in our planet’s waste will not happen overnight. It is up to each of us to take responsibility for the products we buy and the waste we create. At Revomax, we encourage our customers to commit to buying products with longer lifespans. Together, we can decrease our carbon footprint and better the world around us. We can also use high-quality items that last for years instead of products that go straight into the garbage. We urge you to join us in the fight against throwaway culture and seek out products that are made to last.
"It is up to each of us to take responsibility for the products we buy and the waste we create"
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