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This simple labelling trick could make gadgets last longer -- and help save the planet

Peter Sayer | Feb. 17, 2016
Lifespan labeling could be the next big thing, as Germany wants manufacturers to tell us how long electronic devices will last.

But won't products keep improving, making the gain from a newer device more significant? Well, no: These figures already take potential improvements in energy efficiency into account, according to the agency

Besides, as time goes on, the absolute gains in energy efficiency are getting ever smaller, whether we're talking about a mobile phone or a huge data center: Every 10 percent improvement is worth less than the last, a cycle of diminishing returns.

This is, perhaps, not what mobile phone manufacturers want to hear as they build up their booths in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, the giant telecommunications trade show.

There they will launch new phones, many of them barely distinguishable from one another or from last years models.

However, this is what we want them to do, the environment agency notes: Consumers have come to expect new developments every year.

The agency's study, in German, looks at how to prevent obsolescence in household appliances large and small, consumer electronics, and information and communication technology products.


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