How Planned Obsolescence Can Be Good for the Planet

LINC cell phone product service system designed obsolescence

The case has been made both for and against a certain iconic cell phone being the last one you'll ever buy (hint: it starts with "i" and ends with "Phone"), and, while early returns are mixed, it's too early to tell if this will be true (though we doubt it). In the meantime, everyone still has a cell phone that will get broken, donated, traded in, thrown away, recycled or otherwise replaced within the next 18 months or so (on average). No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of plastic and other miscellanea that will eventually end up downcycled or in the landfill.

An organization called The Greener Grass thinks they have a solution for this. Inspired by January's Greener Gadgets Conference, they've dreamed up LINC, a smart phone with all the advanced capabilities -- cell phone, a media player, a web browser, GPS, downloadable content, Bluetooth, wifi, etc. -- of today's smartphones, with one twist.

LINC cell phone parts product service system designed obsolescence

LINC is designed as a service, not a product. Known also as a product service system, you'd lease the phone's services by the year, and when it become obsolete, you just pack it up and send it back; the manufacturer sends you a new one and harvests and recycles the old parts. All your personal info, like your phone book and other personalized settings, is wireless transferred to your new phone.

LINC cell phone product service system designed obsolescence

The phone is designed for automated disassembly and is created from pieces that don't have paints or adhesives, for easy recycling. According to The Greener Grass, LINC "changes the entire paradigm of the production and consumption model today."

It's an interesting approach -- to essentially embrace planned obsolescence rather than designing a product with a longer lifecycle -- and is one that could really take off if executed correctly, though, quite frankly, the chances of seeing LINC come to fruition are somewhere between slim and none. Ah, but we can dream, right? And what a nice dream it is. Cross your fingers that it could someday exist and get the nitty-gritty at ::The Greener Grass via ::Core77

See also: ::Planned Obsolescence vs. Designed Deterioration and ::50 Ways to Recycle Your Cell Phone

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