1st Edition

Longer Lasting Products Alternatives To The Throwaway Society

Edited By Tim Cooper Copyright 2010
    458 Pages
    by Routledge

    460 Pages
    by Routledge

    The present economic system requires us to consume and throw away more and more goods. Yet often it's our desire, and the best interests of the environment, for these goods to last. The contributors to this book, who comprise many of the most significant international thinkers in the field, explore how longer lasting products could offer enhanced value while reducing environmental impacts. If we created fewer but better quality products, looked after them carefully and invested more in repair, renovation and upgrading, would this direct our economy onto a more sustainable course? The solution sounds simple, yet it requires a seismic shift in how we think, whether as producers or consumers, and our voracious appetite for novelty. The complex range of issues associated with product life-spans demands a multidisciplinary approach. The book covers historical context, design, engineering, marketing, law, government policy, consumer behaviour and systems of provision. It addresses the whole range of consumer durables - vehicles, kitchen appliances, audio-visual equipment and other domestic products, furniture and floor coverings, hardware, garden tools, clothing, household textiles, recreational goods and DIY goods - as well as the re-use of packaging. Longer Lasting Products provides policy makers, those involved in product design, manufacturing and marketing, and all of us as consumers, with clear and compelling guidance as to how we can move away from a throwaway culture towards an economy sustained by more durable goods.

    Part I: Overview; 1: The Significance of Product Longevity; Part II: Design for Longevity; 2: Re-evaluating Obsolescence and Planning for It; 3: Subject/Object Relationships and Emotionally Durable Design; 4: Defying Obsolescence; 5: Understanding Replacement Behaviour and Exploring Design Solutions; 6: Adjusting Our Metabolism: Slowness and Nourishing Rituals of Delay in Anticipation of a Post-Consumer Age; 7: Durability, Function and Performance; Part III: Public Policy and Product Life-Spans; 8: Durability and the Law; 9: The Law on Guarantees and Repair Work; 10: Policies for Longevity; part IV: Marketing Longer Lasting Products; 11: Rethinking Marketing; 12: Marketing Durability; 13: Can Durability Provide a Strong Marketing Platform?; Part V: Product Use and Reuse; 14: Consumer Influences on Product Life-Spans; 15: Product Life Cycle Management Through IT; 16: There are Times and Places: Systems and Practices in the Domestic Processing and Reuse of Packaging; 17: Extending Product Life-Spans: Household Furniture and Appliance Reuse in the UK


    Tim Cooper is Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University. After graduating from the University of Bath, he worked as an economist in the construction industry for over a decade before undertaking research at the New Economics Foundation, where he developed his interest in the life-span of consumer durables. He was awarded a PhD from Sheffield Hallam University, where he worked from 1995 until 2010 and established the Centre for Sustainable Consumption. Dr Cooper's current research interests are multidisciplinary, embracing design, consumer behaviour, public policy and environmental ethics. He has participated in several European research projects and in 2004 was awarded funding by the EPSRC to establish the Research Network on Product Life Spans, which he continues to manage. He has advised the Research Council of Norway, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency and the Belgium Federal Science Policy Office, and was Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Environment Committee for its enquiry Reducing the Environmental Impact of Consumer Products.

    '...The book is composed of 17 chapters, most of which could easily be made into books in their own right...managers, especially marketing managers, should read this book...Those not up to speed need to catch up fast...' David Bishop, Journal of Product & Brand Management '...this volume is a very welcome addition to the ongoing design for sustainability debate. It brings a substantial amount of current research to the reader and offer a wide-ranging set of perspectives. It provides a compelling case for extending product use and it effectively covers the associated implications, barriers and opportunities. This volume ought to become a key reference resource for students, academics, politicians, manufacturers and marketing departments and, as such, has the potential to be a long-lasting product.' - The Design Journal '...the book has been overwhelmingly successful in bringing out and presenting an issue that is of supreme importance in today's context. The readers would find this work immensely useful and thought provoking. It may also inspire bright minds to think afresh about marketing and set out to answer sticky research issues in the Marketing theory. I recommend this book especially for Doctoral level students in Marketing.' - Himandri Roy Chaudhuri, VISION Journal 'This is the book we have all been waiting for. Why is it in our own best interests to have things that last? Why do we fail to design, produce and maintain longer-lasting products in the interests of global survival, climate change mitigation, and out of consideration for future generations? Tim Cooper's excellent collection of essays highlights in scholarly and practical ways how to enhance the life-span of vehicles, appliances, furniture, clothing and footwear. The essays supported by a project of the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council show how policies that focus on product longevity are crucial to future prosperity. They alert us to the danger of thinking that a li