what is planned obsolescence made to break

British Dictionary definitions for planned obsolescence:

The policy of deliberately limiting the life of a product in order to encourage the purchaser to replace it: Also called: built-in obsolescence.


Contrived durability

This kind of planned obsolescence is of using physical material that will break or deteriorate faster than other options.

An example of this in electronics is for producers to purposely choose to use cheap plastic or soft metals that have a shorter lifespan than other alternatives and therefore making the product less durable.

Prevention of repair

This a well known planned obsolescence used by for example Apple, where it’s hard to repair or change battery, where you need special tools to even unscrew the screws used in the devices making it even harder for customers to repair themselves.

When the products are made difficult to impossible to repair yourself, it is often cheaper to buy a new product than to pay a specialist to repair it.

Batteries is one of the most common pieces of electronics that are prevented to be repaired. While the design of phones for example can be thinner when the battery is placed in a way to be irreplaceable, making the phone itself stuck with an aging battery and therefor losing it’s quality while the rest of the phone is still fully functioning.

The lowered battery performance is often one of the main reasons people feel the need to renew to a new phone, since getting a new battery isn’t a choice, and in many cases if it is replaces the warranty of the product can be lost.

PS. Are you looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world? We would love to help! Take responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!

Perceived obsolescence

This is an obsolescence where consumers are made to think their product is no longer desirable or that it is old and out of fashion.

This is very common in fast fashion but also in the technology business, especially when in comes to mobile phones. Releasing new models once or more a year, with slightly better software or slightly different design quickly makes your new phone several seasons old.

Systemic obsolescence

This technique is to systematically make a product obsolete by altering systems or functions that won’t work with the older products.

Such as no longer being able to maintain or where the manufacturer stop supporting the systems.

Some examples:

New software updates that don’t work on older models or where old software programs don’t work on newer models as deliberate choice by the manufacturers.

Another example is where they remove their service to repair products of a certain age, and this is typically a problem with products that are designed not to be repaired by the consumer. Like with a built in battery for example.

However, luckily there are third parties who offer their service to repair most type of technology.

Programmed obsolescence

This is a very lucrative kind of obsolescence, where the products are programmed to stop functioning after a certain amount of uses. Such as x hours of use or x amount of printed papers on a printer.

Obsolescence by depletion

This example is where the products rely on secondary consumables.

One of the most common examples of this is the toners for printers that seem to come in an infinite amount of shapes. The manufacturers stop producing ink/toners for printer models after a certain amount of time, making it harder to find toners for your specific printer with time. Ending up creating a need to get an entirely new printer.


France has recently taken strong measures against planned obsolescence, and businessmen will be liable to prison sentences and companies will be liable to fines of up to €300,000 if these kinds of practices are found to be performed.

  • Demand longer warranties for the products and spare parts guaranteed.
  • Recycle our electronic waste properly and demand manufacturers eliminate dangerous substances contained in these products.
  • Support those brands who are creating products that are made to last.
  • Don’t buy new. Go for second hand and vote with your dollars that you do not want to take part in this environmentally destructive business plan.








PS. And remember, if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable world, join us by taking responsibility for the carbon footprint of your lifestyle now!


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here

HOW TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY – When you are living a very busy life

To live a more sustainable and environmentally friendly life, we first need to educate ourselves on what changes we can make and which of our habits are the worst from an environmental perspective. But a lot of people don’t have the time to spend hours researching these things and need short, fast and easy guides on how to make better choices. Parents especially have less time to change to better habits that will be part of making the future for their children better.

So here is a guide on how you can shop what you need more sustainably.

Second Hand shopping online

Location: Not only does online thrifting allow more people to shop sustainably due to lack of time, but also bringing the option to those who do not have physical second hand-stores close to where they live.

Please do keep in mind to try to shop from within your own country, or as close to you as possible to keep the emissions for transportation down.

Search engine: A lot of the apps and websites where you can buy pre-loved items make it easier to find specific things you’re looking for, compared to wandering around in the physical stores trying to find x, y, z. Through the search option, you can search for specific brands, items and sizes. Especially the part of being able to search for sizes makes it easier and more inclusive for people with larger sizes, as most of what is sold in vintage and thrift shops are sizes S-L.

Notification options: If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can in some apps and websites choose to get notifications if an item is added that match your search word. This saves you time so that you don’t have to check for it every single day, but can rely on the notification to let you know.

Follow people with similar taste, size and hobbies: In some apps, like TISE and DEPOP, you can follow specific people making items put out for sale by those people being displayed for you. That way you can create almost like an app that shows you the items of your interests, size and style.

Sustainable and ethical stores

While shopping for items that are already on this earth, to lessen the need fo using new resources, buying pre-owned or upcycled items is not for everyone. Perhaps you are looking for a specific kind of item and you just can’t find it on any of the online thrifting options.

There are stores who’ve made it easy for you to save you time from researching for all brands who use sustainably sourced materials and who used ethical practices for their workers. These stores, which you can find both online and in some cities, have done all of that work for you as they only stock items from brands who make the cut.

As there are many readers here from Sweden, I’ll mention a couple of these physical store options for you here. That way you can try the clothes on before purchasing. These all do have online shops as well for those who do not live in any of those cities.

Stockholm has Ecosphere and Adisgladis for example, and in Gothenburg you have Thrive.

How to find ethical and sustainable brands

  1. You can go to some of these stores who sell only from ethical and sustainable brands, look at their list of what brands they are selling and go onto the websites of those specific brands and see all of their items, as the retailers with many brand only chose a few of the clothings from each brand.
  2. Check out the website and app GOOD ON YOU where they amongst other things, research on different brands and rate them on 3 points – Environmental Impact, Labour Conditions and Animal Welfare. For brands that have been rated badly, they often offer “Good Swap” by showing brands with similar style of clothing but by brands who’ve been rated good.
  3. Follow ethical fashion-gurus on social media. They often mention brands that are good, and call out Greenwashing when deserved. Some people I recommend following for ethical fashion is:

Aja Barber: InstagramPatreon

Verena Erin/My Green Closet: InstagramYoutube

Kristen Leo: InstagramYoutube

Venetia Falconer: Instagram Youtube

For more posts about Fast Fashion check these out:


PLASTIC CLOTHING – Pros, cons and how to deal with micro plastic pollution

CLOTHING: Which materials are the best and worst? – A sustainable fashion material guide

NOT BUYING NEW CLOTHES? Here’s what you can do instead


This post was written by our blogger Evelina Utterdahl. You can read more about her here