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Production and Industry System Implementation Essay

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Goals and Information Flows

in the System of Industrial Production

Elena Ferrer and Phillip Grote

AP Environmental Science

18 December 2017

Jae Pasari

Period 6


        It’s a well known fact that the industrial revolution caused a never before seen rise in the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. New machines pumped out carbon from fossil fuels at a rate which has only increased since then. In the late 20th century, a new revolution occurred; the digital revolution. Even while the digital revolution reduced the need for physical information, it cause a massive increase in industrial waste as new products were created, and then discarded quickly after, due to perceived obsolescence, leaking deadly toxins. These events, along with the use of plastic based products and packaging, have created a pressing industrial waste issue. Several different solutions have been proposed and are in use to combat the waste problem, including a transition to the try and revert back to long durability products, and a label for products under a policy of extended producer responsibility. These solutions seek to change the structure of industry to reduce waste by manipulating goals and information flows within the system.    

Leverage Point 1: Goals (Planned Obsolescence)


        Today, our society has become one with a all encompassing throw-away culture. This is due to our increasing investments into consumerism and perceived obsolescence. Because companies are constantly trying to maximize profit over their competitors, they have begun to implement planned obsolescence, or designing products so that their life span is less than could be innovated, essentially sabotaging the product so that they are bound to break. People who argue for planned obsolescence often argue that it promotes more competitiveness, and more innovation, benefiting the producers and consumers. However, through this means of production, the entire materials economy is heavily affected in every stage. It requires the extraction stage to remove more natural resources, usually from third world countries, leading to more practice of unfair pay and exploitation of labor. Most heavily affected is the disposal stage, which is piled with e-waste and steadily secrets toxins, polluting the disposal countries environment and contributing to the company’s carbon footprint. Despite planned obsolescence being so ingrained in global discourse, some companies have begun to fight it. One example of this is OEP Electrics, a company created to try and make products to combat planned obsolescence. Their product is a light bulb that was created when Benito Muros, the founder, saw a light bulb that had been on for over one hundred years. This resulted in Muros trying to innovate a new design to make a sustainable light bulb that would replace light bulbs that had been made to last only a few months or so. Muros eventually came up with a design that made the lightbulb last 25 years if on for 24 hours a day (Fig 1.), and

Fig. 1[pic 1]

is now selling the product in Spain. (Valero)

        As well as refinancing the production of the light bulbs, Muros has also started the SOP Movement, or Sin Obsolescencia Programada, which translates to Without Planned Obsolescence, and markets the product that way so that the consumers are educated about what planned obsolescence actually is. (Valero)


        As said previously, Muros’s light bulb can last for 25 years while on for 24 hours a day. This differs drastically to the average light bulb considering it is said to last around only 1000 hours, which means that each light bulb has to be replaced one or two times a year (Bulbs). The OEP Electrics light bulb lasts approximately 219,000 hours. This means that if you were to assume that you only use your lights for 8 hours a day, your light bulbs would last for 75 years. Comparatively, the average light bulb would only last approximately 0.34 years. The results are drastic, and show how much more sustainable the OEP Electronics light bulb is, essentially lasting for an entire lifetime. In this way, it has very much reached its goal.


The light bulb is sold at around 30€, which fares well with its competitors that cannot come even close to the durability. While there is no information on how much the production of the light bulbs is, OEP Electrics says that they would like to keep the product as cheap and affordable as possible in order to incentivize people to invest in anti-obsolete products, so it is likely that the cost of production is more expensive than the average light bulb, which costs $0.50- $4 to make (Alliance to Save Energy).



While the goal of being sustainable and more eco-friendly was met, the actual implementation into society was not. News of the light bulb reached a lot of environmentalist websites that were specifically focused on fighting planned obsolescence, however, the implementation of the products into society did not happen because it was not reaching the public, and only reaching people that were already interested in fighting planned obsolescence.


        Because the product is paired with the message of the SOP Movement, OEP Electrics is able to effectively frame the product with saving the environment. In Fig. 2, the packaging is[pic 2]

Fig. 2

shown with all of the statistics about how much more sustainable it is. The packaging effectively shows that the by buying the product, the consumer is supporting minimizing energy use and carbon emissions. Furthermore, by putting the term “Obsolescencia Programada”, translating to Planned Obsolescence, the company is also working with information flows, because it is making it known to the public that there is such a thing as planned obsolescence and that other light bulb products fall victim to it. Furthermore, the actual visuals used on the packaging are a powerful tool in framing their product as an extension of progression (Limpahan). Because the light bulb, is illuminating all of the facts about how the product fighted planned obsolescence, it is used as a symbol of revelation that is showing the truth about other corporations are partaking in intentionally hurting the environment. Furthermore, the logo for OEP Electrics, shown in Fig. 3, is shown with wings,  reminiscent of angel wings, which may symbolize a new hope that the



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