UK clamps down on appliances designed to break in a welcome return to the past – Scotsman comment

It may seem like a fashionable idea to mock the ‘good old days’, but apparently they used to do that even in the times we now hark back to. The struggle between modernists and traditionalists is an age-old one.

BBC show The Repair Show has demonstrated our fondness for things that are made to last and can be repaired at a time when some appliances come with short lifespans built in (Picture: BBC)
BBC show The Repair Show has demonstrated our fondness for things that are made to last and can be repaired at a time when some appliances come with short lifespans built in (Picture: BBC)

However, we are, it seems, coming round to at least one concept from times gone by – that the things we buy, rather than simply thrown away and replaced if they break, should be capable of being repaired.

This idea is fast developing considerable momentum and not just among hobbyists, environmentalists, and fans of the excellent BBC show, The Repair Shop.

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Now the UK government is planning to introduce rules to make appliances like fridges, washing machines and TVs last longer and be cheaper to run.

The legislation will also tackle what is known as “premature obsolescence” in electrical goods – the shocking practice of deliberately building appliances to have short lifespans so people have to keep buying more.

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The rules could extend the lifespan of product by as much as a staggering ten years, in the process saving us all large amounts of money as well as reducing carbon emissions and the “e-waste tsunami”, to quote Conservative MP Philip Dunne.

A new energy-efficiency ratings system will also be introduced with an A to G scale, after the existing one reached the farcical point where products were mostly A+, A++ or A+++. Gold stars for all may be lovely for companies, but it’s not much use for consumers.

So, as we realise the error of our decidedly modern, throwaway ways, we’re going ‘back to the future’ and the time when things were made to last. Wonderful.

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