Environmental implications of planned obsolescence and product lifetime: a literature review
International Journal of Sustainable Engineering
Taylor & Francis
The aim of this paper was to explore the implications of planned obsolescence (PO) and the associated product lifetime on the environmental impact of products. To achieve this task, a literature review was performed to assess both the historical context and recent situation of planned obsolescence. A search in scholarly journals was performed to evaluate to what extent product lifetime and PO have been discussed in the recent literature. Based on the findings, selected cases of PO are discussed and trends in the practice of limiting product lifetime are identified. Factors considered to have a significant influence on product lifetime have been identified and discussed. The discussion of case studies made it possible to establish the links between product design, manufacturing and associated impacts of lifetime. The role of the actors along the value chain is also considered to propose a business scheme, where the influences of consumer behaviour and design choices are crucial. Finally, strategies to facilitate the definition of different scenarios are given. These strategies may serve to increase the reliability of environmental assessment throughout a product life cycle.