Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What are the types of obsolescence?

Before we take a close look at the types of obsolescence, let’s first take a quick look at the meaning of product obsolescence. Product obsolescence occurs when the desire of a product is no longer exists even if the product is still working. Even though planned obsolescence can be unsafe strategy because clients could possibly buy from competitors, marketers intentionally bring in obsolescence into their product strategy because they know that it drops the time between repeat purchases and then creates long-term sales volume.

Now, let’s look closely at the types of obsolescence:
  1.    Technical or functional obsolescence
  2.     Style obsolescence
  3.     Intentional physical obsolescence
  4.     Postponement obsolescence
 - Technical or functional obsolescence
When an old product replaced with new product because of new technology (e.g. Video Tape -> DVD, and DVD Player -> iPod) and the obsolete product does not have the same functions or capabilities as the new one.

- Style obsolescence
When the new style of a product makes the owner of the old model feel 'out of date' (e.g. Clothing, Cars, and Phones).

- Intentional physical obsolescence
When a product is designed to last for a specific lifetime (e.g. laptops, TVs, and iPods)

- Postponement obsolescence
When a company delays the introduction of new technological improvements (e.g. large software manufacturers that specialize in operating)


Added by: 
Saud Alsultan

Monday, April 26, 2010

How To Recycle Your Phone Books!

A great example of Planned Obsolescence is the Yellow Pages we receive every year in our mailbox. Each year, over 7000 different titles of the Yellow Pages is distributed across North America. According to some statistics, 540 million of phone book were distributed which means that every American receive more than 1 Yellow Pages! The revenue generated each year from the Media Company publishing those directories is close to $13 billion!
According to Los Gatos, California’s Green Valley Recycling, if all Americans recycled their phonebooks for a year, we would save 650,000 tons of paper and free up two million cubic yards of landfill space. Modesto, California’s Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods Department, which lets city residents include phonebooks with their regular curbside pickup, says that for each 500 books recycled, we save:
7,000 gallons of water
3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
17 to 31 trees
4,100 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power an average home for six months
Despite of knowing that the phonebook papers are 100% recyclable, many recyclers will NOT accept those phone books because the fiber to create lightweight pages are too short to be recreated into a new paper. You still can use your old phone book for different use in your home. In nowadays, phone books are outdated since you can search for anything via the web.

To avoid more consumption and waste of those phone books, companies like DEX Knows, AT&T or SBC Communication offer you different kind of solutions:
1) Opt-out from their mailing listing
2) Find local partners that will accept your old phone books to recycle it. 
3) Order a CD Directories instead of the book
4) Find a local community that will accept your old phone books.

I invite you to visit or call your different provider of phone book and opt you out from their mailing list.
- SBC Communication / Bell South Corporation / AT&T Directories: Call 1-866-326-7200
- Verizon Communications / Super Media Directories: Call 1-800-555-4833
- Yellow Pages USA: Order your CD 1-800-745-8720

Added by:
Schahram Rezai-Ahvanoui

Having the best Computer

Who in this day and age doesn’t have a computer? It takes only six months for your computer to be outdated if not less. By the time the new 2010 Dell, Sony, Apple, or come out they are on the way out. Is it planned obsolescence to put the “New” 2010 computers on the shelves June of 2010 so you are only 6 months ahead of the old 2009 or 6 months behind the new 2011? It’s all in the plan to convince someone one way or the other behind or ahead to have them buy a new computer to say ahead in the latest computer. In 2003, over 63 million working PCs were trashed, in 2004 that number jumped to 315 million. The same trend holds over a wide array of consumer electronics. In 1997, a PC was expected to last 4 or 5 years today, average life expectancy is two or three years.
So with all the technology that is involved in a computer even if you stay ahead or behind of the computer boom, it’s still going to be fried in 2 or 3 years. In the end you have to do research on the computer that fits your needs or its going to be too much computer that is going to break in 2 years. Next question what are you going to do with the hunk of junk collecting dust? Well, recycle it!

Ryan Flitcroft


A Good Way To Fight Against Planned Obsolescence

We all know about Wikipedia, the #1 online encyclopedia, but we now know about iFixit which is a website that offers multitude of offers for different product to repair any Apple products.
"The revamped website provides free wiki-style fix-it manuals. Double the life of your gadget, halve your amount of e-waste, and save money too." 
The website designed in a Wikipedia style explains you how to fix or replace different part of your defective product to increase its durability. It is a good way to fight against Planned Obsolescence that will increase a lot in the next few months. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, announced a couple weeks ago that the new iPhone OS4 will not be compatible with the 1st generation of iPhone creating an increase of e-waste.

iFixit is a great way to change the defective part of your iPhone, iPod and any Apple computer to reduce the e-waste surrounding your community.

Here's a video that goes with this article talking about the impact of e-waste in our environment.

Schahram Rezai-Ahvanoui

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Planned obsolescence and the environment

In his article Michael Bloch gives really interesting tips in order to face the planned obsolescence:

write to companies asking them to improve their quality and that we are prepared to pay more if they do so. If enough people take this action, maybe things will change.

The other thing we can do is to treat manufacturer replacement date recommendations with suspicion, unless of course it's a safety issue.

Additionally, when something seems broken or depleted, use the power of the web to find alternatives or perhaps a cheap fix - a great example are the ink cartridges I mentioned earlier. Instead of throwing these environmental nasties out, you can buy refill kits that will save you a ton of cash and literally help save tons of cartridges going into landfill.

Finally, and the most important thing we can do is to look after the stuff we own a little better. Items tend to wear out faster if they aren't maintained and we've generally become lazy.


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Added by:
Fahad AlNassar

Friday, April 23, 2010

The article of "E-Waste: The Dirty Secret of Recycling Electronics"

What's going on: Clearly the E-Industry is going towards a bad direction. The E-waste has become a problem for both the environment and companies. Where, based on bussinessweek.com, 43 US company sells its e-waste to Asia. On the other hand, the environment is affected with every e-waste recycling company. The e-waste is handed to companies that are located in near of populated areas. The children as in Asia became threatened by a toxin that causes neurological damages.
Interesting: The first interesting point the article talked about is when Brianne Douglas, vice-president for marketing said "We're doing everything we can to play by the law, to save the environment, and to run a successful business". Douglas here has brought the company's attention in helping the environment and on the same time earning profit. However, in my second interesting point is when Robert Houghton, president of Redemtech, an e-waste processor in Columbus, Ohio stated "Ninety percent of electronics recyclers are cheaters," and he adds "This industry has a tradition of no accountability." Houghton has brought to my attention something that most people are disregarding, which is the affect of recycled e-waste on the environment versus the simplicity of technology.   Thomas L. Varkonyi, proprietor of Metal Recycling in El Paso ships the e-waste to Mexico. Varkonyi stated that Mexican labor is cheaper, and he adds "If you wanted to break those rules [regulation of the toxic of e-waste], it would be easy because you can pay off anyone [in Mexico]". In those statements the ethical dilemma and cheap labor arose and both resolve each other issue. The ethical dilemma was between the company's profitability and the toxic e-waste.
Involvement: For first situation of Douglas I would personally act exactly as what he did. The company here has kept its reputation for both the owners and costumers eyes. For the second situation with Houghton, he showed the e-waste recycle industry failure to save the environment. Personally I would also act upon what he did; the ethical dilemma in this article is the large peace. I would act ethically first before looking at the company's attention. And finally for Varkonyi, I would prefer to contact a legal, safe e-waste recycle company that saves the environment than to look for the cheap labor.

Citation: E-Waste: The Dirty Secret of Recycling Electronics. Published October 15, 2008 by Ellen Gibson, a correspondent in BusinessWeek's Silicon, Businessweek.com.

Yousef Alomran 

The Dreaded Red Ring of Death

When I think of planned obsolescence, the first thing that comes into my mind is how Microsoft is able to take advantage of this by having a great video game system like the Xbox 360. Planned obsolescence is when a company knows that a product is going to fail in certain amount of fixed years.  Their intentions are to try and get the consumer to buy again.  So what happens when an Xbox 360 fails on consumers with the known problems called the red ring of death? What can consumers do to keep on playing? Well according to www.vgchartz.com, there has been at least 40 million Xbox 360s sold in the world, but the failure rate of the Xbox360 is 54.2% (Microsoft Blog). That tells me that there are at least 20 million Xbox 360s out there that had the red ring of death! Due to the high failure rate of these Xbox360, the first thing Microsoft decided to do is give existing customers that already purchased an Xbox 360 an extended amount of warranty of up to 3 years after the manufacture date. What do gamers do after the 3 year warranty is up? Do they have to go out there and buy a new one? The next step they decided to do was redesign the chipset which is now known as the Jasper model to try and counter any technological problems. Sure the failure rate has dropped significantly, but do consumers actually want to spend another $200 to $300 dollars in order to buy the Jasper Xbox 360.

More importantly where do these broken Xbox 360’s end up at? Sources seem to point to a landfill where Microsoft probably dumps tons and tons of broken Xbox 360’s. According to Green Peace, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 has deadly toxins such as bromine (linked to memory lost) and DEHP (which hinders sexual development). If you ask me, they did a poor job on making the system, if they would have taken their time, the situation could have been better dealt with.


Jesse Kim

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Planned obsolescence and the environment

This article by Michael Bloch gives the reader a simple overview of what Planned Obsolescence is about, as well as tips on what people can do to change the trend of making products that doesn't last. Michael says, "In many instances, the use of inferior quality parts is not a case of the company trying to save money, but make it." All too often I have had to pay big bucks to replace parts that cost little to produce. We should all take a second look at what manufactures and big companies are doing to our consuming habits and find ways to change the way we consume and think about the products we buy.

Perry Ogan


By Michael Bloch
Published 06/01/2008

Monday, April 19, 2010

Digital Cameras!

Planned Obsolescence

What kind of Digital Camera do you have?

Pictures! Who doesn’t have a digital camera these days? It’s amazing how many models and types of cameras come out every year! According to Nikon’s sold 820,000 units of digital SLR cameras in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 (April 1, 2008 – June 30, 2008), and estimate to sell a total of 3.3 million units in the Fiscal year 2009 ending March 2009. The increase is due to planned obsolescence, which the digital camera becomes out of date due to a better model coming out yearly. Looking at the planned obsolescence of the batteries for digital cameras is high in waste and price. You can spend up to 125.00 a year alone on batteries. Think you’re smart and will purchase rechargeable batteries? Rechargeable batteries are made with a significant amount of toxic metals, including mercury. While the NiMH is the least toxic of the rechargeable varieties, they still have more toxic metals than throw-away alkaline batteries. Also, rechargeable batteries lose their charge during long periods of non-use. Another part of the digital camera that creates Planned Obsolescence is the LCD lens. The LCD lens can be broken by just a touch of a finger. Some digital cameras have protectors, and even with the protector the camera manufacture doesn’t warn you that leaving your camera in your car on a hot/cold day might break the LCD lens.

So, to counter Planned Obsolescence you can recycle your digital camera instead of throwing it away. You can buy cameras with software that can be upgraded in the internet, you can be happy with your camera you bought with 12.1 mega pixels and not buy the upgrade a year later that is 12.8 mega pixels. Lastly, by just recycling alone you can prevent 1.2 million tons of electronic waste.

Battery facts





Ryan Flitcroft

Washington D.C. Ranking High On Recycling

With Earth Day quickly approaching, it is encouraging that our Nation's capital, Washington DC, ranked so high in terms of their ability to recycle electronics.  It is important to have the place where all our laws are made to also be an example of what we should all be doing.

According to a report by The Washington Post, "in the 12-month period ended in February 2010, consumers in the Washington region turned in 30,000 units and 2 million pounds of old electronics."

It is important to remember to recycle our electronics as we constantly update the many devices which have become an integral part of our everyday lives.  These electronics are part of a movement known as planned obsolescence, put on by manufacturers wishing to increase revenues.  However, this is causing more and more waste.  By recycling, we can limit the effects of this movement.

Mohamed Al-Khayarin

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cell-Phone Obsolescence between 18-24 months

Planned Obsolescence is what driving our consumption most widely in the technology industry. I wanted to share some informations about the cell-phone industry. Cell-phone is the most widely technology used around the world with 1-billion cell-phones sold in 2009 globally! More than that, 97 of 100 households owns a cell-phone in the industrialized countries. Data shows that average planned obsolescence for cell-phone are between 18 to 24 months in the USA. This average is highly dictated by the duration of our cell-phone operator that incite us to sign up for a new 2-year plan as soon as we hit the 18 months old contract.
As an example, AT&T is giving $200 discount on any phones to the 12-18 months old customers. They add $200 on this amount for customer between 18 to 24 months old to incite them to continue their plan and change their cell-phone. Steve Job, Apple C.E.O., announced that the first generation of iPhone would not support the new OS System coming up this summer. This will lead to an increase of used iPhone. There is no recycle plan being offered with by Apple at this time.

I think a good way to minimize our consumption is to buy, consume and recycle cleverly. I'm attaching to this article 2 interesting websites, the first one is giving you information in the process of recycling your cell-phone and the second one is giving you information about how to clear all the data from your cell-phone (contacts, pictures etc...).

Call 2 Recycle Website

How To Clear Your Cell-Phone Data

Schahram Rezai-Ahvanoui

Designing for Destruction.

"This article discusses planned obsolescence in marketing as it relates to high technology industries and its impact on the sustainability of the global economy. The problems of environmental impact in the design of new products such as iPods and cellular telephones are noted. Advocates of sustainable design such as Carl Honoré are quoted for their commentary on the issues surrounding durability in consumer goods. Concerns about the life-cycles of goods including office equipment, carpeting, and hybrid electric engines are explored. The author discusses the possibility that tying design to ownership, and the connected problems of disposal, could improve the ecological consciousness of product designers"

read more:

added by:
Fahad AlNassar

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Think Twice Before You Buy!

Now our biggest environmental problems come from our own actions, our own choices, rather than pollution produced by big business.
-former Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura,
quoted in "Ventura: Pollution control starts with individuals,"
St. Paul Pioneer Press 24 Apr 01

This term’s topic, planned obsolescence, is a strategy many companies use in order to maximize profits. They appeal to consumers by making constant improvements to their products and services.

This has been rampant in the consumer electronics industry, and a prime example is with home entertainment centers. Many people started out watching movies at home on Beta. Those were quickly taken over by the VHR, which surprisingly was around only about a decade ago. Then DVD’s took over, and now it’s Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, all of the products that became obsolete ended up in local landfills causing a negative impact on the environment.
So consumers have something very important to think about next time they're in the market for home entertainment products.  Where will these products end up in a few years when the next best thing is around? 

By: Victoria Walton

Getting motivated! Or losing motivation?

By: Dan Flatten

When it comes to “Planned Obsolescence” the concept materializes in my head with great uncertainty. I start with imagining how many computers there are on Earth for example, then I think about how much waste material is produced from the manufacturing of each one of those desktop computers with monitor (1.8 metric tons!). This data that I try to unravel and understand in my brain suddenly begins to grow out of control and information overload sets in, leaving me dazed and unmotivated to do anything about it.

I tend to think that this is our biggest hurdle that we as a nation, and as a world, needs to overcome. It's very easy for people to analyze this data, and come to the quick assumption like “how can I make a difference with such large number's” or “we're already so far gone that there's no coming back from it.” In reality, every bit counts, and I've noticed it helps me to view these issues on a smaller scale. Although it's good to understand the big picture, it helps me to think about the difference I can make alone. It can be as easy as using the proper the channels for recycling your old appliances, or spending a little more on a product that will last longer. By doing this, it not only can make a positive impact on the environment, it can also makes a positive social change, starting what could be a chain reaction of healthy actions for the environment.

For more interesting, and shocking facts to help yourself get motivated, follow the link below.


Salvaging our Throw Away Society

Over time our society has developed into a nation where consumers give little thought to the durability of products and where goods are intended to wear out so that new items can be purchased. The latest, greatest gadget has taken the place of long lasting sturdiness and waste is as common as the cold. One must have the newest phone, television, car – even textbooks are repeatedly revised and updated, resulting in useless material. While we all love new technology and it is of course, a valuable tool, consideration must be made to lengthening the use of products and services or we will eventually be overwhelmed by our own waste.

The idea of “Planned Obsolescence” brought to mind textbooks. On the one hand, educational material should be current and available to the masses, but the requirement of revised versions with minor changes that makes current data outdated promotes waste. We are taught to be concerned with environmental issues, yet how many trees are destroyed to provide the millions of textbooks that are upgraded every year?

One solution might be to simply have extra material available to download on the web that supplements the original text and allows students to recycle the same textbook for several years. With the introduction of the e-Book readers, the use of textbooks might become obsolete with students renting text books, similar to music downloads. One company, Flat World Knowledge is a fledgling operation working to provide on-line text books free of charge and gaining revenue through supplemental materials. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/454991-Flat_World_Knowledge_Reaches_Out_to_College_Bookstores

by Debra Mosso

Ipod made to be broken

Posted By: Saud Alsultan

Planned Obsolescence is a production process that has been developed to encourage people to consume again and that increases the demand of a product. However, consuming a product again means replacing it with old one that will be thrown away. According to Steve Job in his presentation in Jan 27, 2010, he said that Apply had sold 220 million iPod to date. How much waste is that? In "Technology made to be broken," Giles Slade talks about planned obsolescence by focusing on iPods and how throwing them in the landfill poisoning our plant. He focuses on iPod because, as he said, iPods are full of toxics (e.g. mercury, cadmium, chromium, and barium) that are harmful for the environment. Beside, iPods are small and that makes them expensive to take to pieces and chipper to be thrown in the garbage. 

Even though Apply have a recycling program, I believe there is still waste due to the short lifetime of iPods. iPods don’t last long and that why Apply had sold more than by January 2010. Also, Apple offers customers who bring their old iPods to an Apple Retail Store 10% off a new one! Why don’t they make the iPod last longer instead of offering 10% off?

Technology made to be broken by Giles Slade: http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0502/p09s02-coop.html