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Friday 15 April 2005

Non-replacable batteries [Lurks]

With my closet-greenie hat on, I just wanted to float an idea I had which I have become convinced is the right thing to do. I'm talking about electronic devices with non-replacable batteries in them but you could argue to extend this to any complex device which is predominently built to be used and then thrown away. Simply put, I think it ought to be illegal to manufacture and sell them.
Why's that? Well, essentially environmental impact. These firms are conning customers into a product with built-in obsolescence. These devices cost massive amounts of resources to manufacture which generates an impact on our environment through CO2 emissions and so on. Then there's the cost of disposal and the environmental impact of disposing of electronics.
The government has already mandated that recycling costs must be built-into the sale of a computer and that consumers should, by law, be able to take their computer back to the retailer for recycling. The sad fact that this is probably the first time you've heard that, demonstrates the ridiculous lip-service we pay to this laudible concept but of course industry and retail aren't going to jump up and down and tell you about their rights when there's a profit to be made.
I'm just saying this should be an extension of that. Of course devices do become obsolete and sadly they are thrown away if they're not (hopefully) sold-on or handed down to someone that can make use of them. However industry does need to be told in no uncertain terms that we won't stand for this consumer con-trick.
Of course the devil would be in the detail. What if the company offers a replacement service and charges an unfeasible amount of money? Will that absolve them of responsibility? I don't know. It needs to be talked about for sure. It's obviously a ridiculous state of affairs that there are tens of thousands of iPods, iBeads and Christ only knows what else being chucked into bins because of our rampant consumerism.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting articles in New Scientist that wasn't a million miles away from this topic...
    .. notice of a patient that Motorola had filed that presented the idea that you could produce devices that only accepted batteries with a battery that contained a certain 'chip' that proved it was a genuine motorola item..
    This isn't anything eco-friendly.. but it does show the fact that the inherent problem with batteries is that the industry is driven by the very fact that the item they are selling is very limited and will eventualy need to be replaced... the potential to create a captive market, enslaved to a specific company, is enevitable (and highly desirable to the marketing forces) unfortunatly... and the problem with captive markets.. lack of competion so the prices go up.
    Guess who looses out? Yay! Us.....