The modern world is constantly changing and improving. The changes and improvements are expected and wanted. Technological advancements have encouraged people to live a fast-paced life, readily accepting change and replacing products that have a limited lifespan. This is where planned obsolescence comes into play.
Planned obsolescence is a policy of producing consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require frequent replacements. This policy has its roots in the Industrial Revolution, when mass production became available and readily grew popular. As more and more corporations began to get more greedy for profit and wealth, planned obsolescence became more and more common in America.
Most technology corporations, such as Apple and Samsung unveil a new and improved design annually in the fall. They have made their products in such a way that the battery must be replaced in a span of a couple of years, in order for appliances to function in optimal conditions. The recently released iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus sales have proven to be the most successful yet, with backorders lined up till November.Other corporations have also resorted to planned obsolescence to earn more money while giving the minimum effort; the more improvements they create, the more profit they receive.
In the perspective of the manufacturers, this strategy is beneficial and drives the economy. However, the consumers are influenced by America’s materialistic lifestyle and the persuading advertisements to continually buy newer and better products to keep up with being with the trend. The capitalistic nature of America is driven by planned obsolescence and turns America into a throw-away society, a society full of overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived or disposable items.
If America continues on the path of consumerism and capitalism, it is inevitable that there will be detrimental effects; however, some companies have realized the consequences the future may hold and have begun to take action.
Tesla is one of the handful of companies who have taken the environment and the future into consideration; the company has implemented a closed loop battery recycling program. Tesla has stated that once the batteries have been used up and reclaimed, they are “crushed into coin-sized pieces and separated into component parts. Plastics are sent to re-processors to be made into new products, and purified lead is sent back to battery manufacturers to be reused.”
If more companies start to follow the trend of being environmentally aware and friendly, America will be able to steer away from the path of a throw-away society. Therefore, corporations must start to recycle, as well as reuse their products, elongate product lifespans, change their manufacturing process to be more environmental and consumer friendly, and more. With a unified effort and goal, America can achieve sustainable development.