The European Parliament has this week backed a Green initiative which aims to extend the life of consumer products. Molly Scott Cato, Bristol’s Green MEP, said:
“Our seas are awash with plastic and incinerators are mushrooming around the South West – just two very obvious signs of our throw-away society. I am delighted therefore that, by a large majority, MEPs have backed a Green initiative challenging ‘planned obsolescence’ – the deliberate policy used by manufacturers to create consumer goods that rapidly become obsolete and so require replacing.
“We can no longer ignore the environmental, social and health consequences of this damaging attitude. Such an approach leads to resource depletion, high transport emissions and of course mountains of waste. We need a much greater emphasis on reuse and repair and tax incentives to encourage this. We must particularly look at ways to tackle software obsolescence, which determines the lifetime of many consumer goods. Tackling our disposable culture can also have huge economic benefits by reducing costs for consumers and creating new jobs in the ‘circular economy’ .
“MEPs have acknowledged we need to act; we now need the European Commission to take on board the calls of the Parliament and support a new, more sustainable approach to consumer products.”