We're throwing away too many electronic devices

by Ken Allen, on March 25, 2016

Screen_Shot_2016-03-22_at_10.03.28_AMLet's face it: Most consumers do not treat their electronic devices like things that should last for many years. We're more than happy to trade them in for the latest and greatest technology as soon as it becomes available.

Mobile devices are easily the most glaring example of this phenomenon. Many customers upgrade every year when the latest iPhone or Android device is release. Others wait two years, which is typically when their service contracts or installment plans are up. Either way, this means that the vast majority of customers are going through advanced electronic devices at an alarming rate. While device manufacturers have stepped up recycling efforts in recent years, too many of these devices end up in landfills

Some environmental organizations are looking for a solution. But how can consumers be convinced to hold on to their devices for longer, when there are so many attractive upgrade options out there.

"How can consumers be convinced to hold on to their devices for longer?"

The answer may be better electronics labeling.

A study conducted by the German Environmental Agency found that many consumers simply don't know how long a product is supposed to last. Since these devices are so advanced, it can be difficult for the average person to examine their inner workings and see if they are functioning properly. The study's authors suggested that manufacturers could do more to indicate how long consumers should expect to use a product - and added that a new regulatory framework may be necessary to ensure that this system would be transparent and fair.

"A system of labeling which expresses the typical life expectancy of an appliance in hours of use would be beneficial," UBA chief Maria Krautzberger said in a press release, as reported by Network World.

In the global economy, we are seeing a push to improve the labeling of electronics for many reasons, including improved traceability and anti-counterfeiting efforts. We may also soon see additional labeling to keep consumers better informed about how they can use their products in a more sustainable manner. If such regulations came to pass, an Enterprise Labeling Solution would allow for efficient compliance by replacing error-prone manual labeling with a centralized system.

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Topics:Electronics

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