Finding solutions to programmed obsolescence.

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Fix it instead of throwing it away
By María Vila Rebolo
The association Friends of the Earth (FOE) has begun a campaign through social networks with the aim of showing the environmental benefits of what they call "lengthening”.  Their goal is to stop the rampant consumerism caused by programmed obsolescence – a prevalent form of marketing that deliberately designs objects with a very limited lifespan. The campaign uses vivid photos which show how we can fix things instead of throwing them away. This is basic to creating a sustainable world. The project is part of the “They deserve a 10” ("Se Merecen un 10") campaign, which highlights the work of people who repair and thus extend the life of our electrical appliances, clothing, furniture and other objects.

To encourage this valuable work, FOE says that the VAT applied to businesses which repair and otherwise extend product life, should be drastically reduced or even eliminated. This makes sense because it would make repair much less expensive, so consumers might think twice before buying a new product.  Among the many advantages of a system that discourages programmed obsolescence is that we would eliminate billions of tons of waste that comes from products being thrown away. FOE has a list available with more than 1,400 establishments in Spain that are dedicated to extending the life of our possessions.


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