When a consumer-durable product has a longer useful life, fewer units (such as refrigerators, washing machines, and tires) enter the waste stream. For instance, since 1973, the durability of the passenger tire has almost doubled as radial tires have replaced bias and bias-belted tires. Radial tires have an average life of 40,000 to 60,000 miles; the average life of bias tires is 15,000 miles, and bias-belted tires is 20,000 miles (Peterson 1989).
Other ways of reducing waste through increased product durability include:
Using low-energy fluorescent light bulbs rather than incandescent ones. These bulbs last longer, which means fewer bulbs are thrown out, and cost less to replace over time.
Keeping appliances in good working order by following the manufacturers' service suggestions for proper operation and maintenance Whenever intended for use over a long period of time, choosing furniture, luggage, sporting goods, tools, and toys that standup to vigorous use Mending clothes instead of throwing them away, and repairing worn shoes, boots, handbags, and brief cases Using long-lasting appliances and electronic equipment with good warranties. Reports are available that list products with low breakdown rates and products that are easily repaired.
Refer to Section 3.2 for discussions on designing product line extension.
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