The Long View: Exploring Product Lifetime Extension


Objective: Product lifetime extension to reduce resource use and waste, while preserving the economic value embedded in products

Product lifetime extension makes a compelling case towards circularity as it reduces resource use and waste, while preserving the economic value embedded in products. This is a win-win situation for the environment (reduction of waste and resources saving), the economy (costs savings for businesses,which also gain opportunity for innovating their practices)  and the society (better value for money and better informed on what they buy).

In order to engage governments of both developing and developed countries, UNEP offers product-specific policy recommendations on the opportunities available to fight against planned obsolescence and address product lifetime extension. These recommendations focus on seven resource-intensive products: washing machines, refrigerators, TVs, mobile phones, laptops, garments, and vacuum cleaners. Recommendations for developed economies include, for instance, prolonging the consumer warranty for larger consumer goods such as washing machines, and integrating minimum durability criteria as mandatory requirements for specific products. For developing economies, policy measures include, for example, creating a formal and safe waste management system for products and parts that cannot be repaired, and promoting awareness-raising campaigns that help consumers take informed decisions through the use of energy and other ecolabels. With this work, we aim to inform policy makers worldwide on the different ways to set enabling conditions for companies and consumers to take action.

To encourage and inspire companies to shift business practices to more circular models, UNEP brings together a set of empirical insights, solutions and strategies that can be easily replicated.

Consumers and civil society are also engaged through awareness raising activities, which aim to explain what product lifetime extension is and what it means for everyone on the planet. Consumers can help acceleration towards circularity by making little shifts in their daily routines

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