Discovering some of my old writings (previously published on ERPZ.net) and now archived here on my blog is pretty cool. So apparently, even before taking and interest in and then writing about the Right to Repair, I wrote about planned obsolescence before! Again, that was more than 10 years ago, and the film project I cited, Story of Stuff, continued its work of encouraging more exposure of companies’ supply chain and the way the world is using various different materials.
What is wrong with old stuff anyways? Shouldn’t we try and use them as best as we can? And what do we really think about when we are throwing away things? Do we imagine they just disappear? Where do they actually go? It’s probably worth understanding the process and knowing the impact it eventually brings.
In my previous job with IE Singapore, I was supporting Singapore companies in the environmental solutions space internationalise. I therefore had the privilege of visiting some of the less traveled bits of Singapore including visiting some of our waste incineration plants, Pulau Semakau (which is our only, and offshore landfill). I’ve even gotten the chance to visit similar facilities abroad such as in Ho Chi Minh City. It is wonderful that we have evolved urban centres to be able to manage, treat, and eventually remove waste from our lives systematically.
But if it causes us to forget the negative effects on our environment, then something is wrong. Worst, if businesses running waste management and treatment facilities want to have continued streams of waste around in order to maintain their business and operations, then we’re not evolving our society in the right direction.