French Law Fights Preplanned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence is a controversial means of production used by many manufacturers of consumer goods such as appliances and consumer electronics. Planned obsolescence means that a manufacturer purposefully makes a product that has a limited lifespan. Their goal is for the product to stop working so that consumers will need to purchase a new item as a replacement.

France passed a law in 2015 that bans manufacturers from intentionally making a product that they know will have a limited lifespan. It is one of the few countries to have done so. France now wants to take the law to another level. The French government is currently considering legislation that would require manufacturers of consumer goods to list on the product what the projected lifespan of the product is.

Stickers would be placed on each appliance, computer or electrical item. The stickers would be color coded, and each sticker would have a rating from one to ten. One would be a shorter lifespan and ten would be a longer lifespan. The products would be rated on the ease of repair and on reliability.

The idea is to give the consumer a better idea as to what is being purchased. It is hoped that manufacturers will build products that are longer lasting, as that is what the general public will want to buy. The government wants to cut down on the amount of waste generated and on money spent. The government sees the new law as going a long way to help promote a better environment.

If the law becomes a reality, it will take effect in 2020. Before the law can take effect, it must pass through the French Legislature. This shouldn't be a problem as the president's party has a large majority of seats. After the measure passes in France, it will have to be approved by European Union regulators to make sure that it is compatible with existing European Union laws.

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