Wieser, H. (2016) ‘Beyond Planned Obsolescence: Product Lifespans and the Challenges to a Circular Economy’, GAIA, 25(3) pp. 156-160.


Shrinking product lifespans, whose side-effects include increased natural resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, are negatively impacting the environment. The circular economy and bans on built-in obsolescence are widely embraced as solutions to today's “throwaway society”. The serious limitations of both strategies, however, can be illustrated by analysing a marketing campaign of the Austrian mobile phone provider T-Mobile. A successful policy to encourage longer product lifespans requires measures beyond bans on built-in obsolescence together with a circular economy model accounting for both efficiency and sufficiency.

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