The light bulb in my study blew and then the light bulb in my bedroom which I guess means I’ll use slightly less electricity but also got me thinking about this documentary I watched recently called… The Lightbulb Conspiracy.
I remember hearing in primary school about how light bulbs could in fact be made so they didn’t blow and need replacing.
But it wasn’t til I watched this doco that I realised how much thought and planning went into exactly how long they lasted.
As is revealed in the film during the 1920s a secret cartel was set up for the purposes of limiting the life spans of light bulbs.
This is called planned obsolescence and as the documentary reveals is in no way limited to light bulbs.
Things don’t seem to last these days because they’re built that way – Ipods, printers, washing machines, toasters and even stockings.
And it’s not just dodgy manufacturing … according to the film it’s chips put into printers so they stop working after a certain number of hours and serious testing and planning of clothing to rip or otherwise fall apart.
The film also reveals the end point for electronic waste, developing countries where vast expanses of discarded and worthless consumer goods clutter the landscape – the film was originally called Pyramids of Waste.
Actually they are more than just a visual problem they contain heavy metals and other substances which pollute the environment and cause health problems.
Unwelcome Guests dedicated a show to Planned Obsolescence.