stuff ending up in landfills due to bad design

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3,203
Location
Southeastern, PA
How much stuff ends up in landfills due to bad design? I have a window air conditioner that developed a rattly-nonworking fan. Took it apart. The plastic blower wheel had broken at the hub. There was a spring clamp securing the hub to the shaft, but the shaft was flatted (like for a set screw). The shaft should have been full round. I suspect that the compression of the spring clamp deformed the plastic on the flat, stressing the plastic, causing failure. During my Internet search for a replacement blower wheel (none available) I found another case of the same failure. Ah well, maybe I can make a new hub out of aluminum and screw it onto the blower wheel. A luxury not everybody has available. A couple of years ago I had another window air conditioner that stopped working. Took it apart. The nylon wire ties were mostly all broken and one had jammed in the fan. They used white nylon wire ties and they had failed due to UV embrittlement from indirect sunlight. Bad design. Replaced the wire ties with black UV resistant wire ties and all has been OK since. And then there was that bad capacitor issue that trashed a bunch of TVs just a couple of years ago (at least I didn't get stung with that one), but that's another story. Stupid reasons for failure. How many of the appliances in the world end up as landfill just due to bad design? mad Just ranting a little.
 
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Messages
5,091
Location
USA
Typical nowadays,everything is built to a price,not a quality.Everything is up for the lowest bid even the smallest screw.If it doesn't last,well,nobody has any pride in a brand,so if someone gets ticked at one nameplate they wont likely come back.But nobody cares.
 
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5,515
Location
Florida
X2 on what you said except I'd like to add ALL things that break prematurely due to poor design or poor quality parts and thus, you end up trashing that item because repair isn't worth it. How much stuff ends up at the dump because of ChinaMart choosing "rollback prices" over QUALITY. What's the point in buying something cheaply made, only to have it break and thrown away in a short period of time? I would have gladly paid an additional $5 for the use of quality parts which would have allowed my kid to enjoy that toy for more then a week before the cheap plastic axles broke on that toy car. duh
 
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5,091
Location
USA
Ever wonder why when you have to replace or grease the bearings on your utility trailer/camper you can never find part numbers on the bearings or the seals? Well,its because the lowest bidder was a sweatshop/slum in some 3rd world country that made them,and they aren't a major manufacturer (like NSK/SKF/National...),and it costs less to leave them unmarked than mark them.Once again,built to a price,not a quality.They know how much it costs them to make,they know what price it will sell for,and there is no wiggle room.Why would you over-build something??? That was what they did in the 50s/60s/70s,certainly not today.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,137
Location
New Jersey
I think the thing is that this is part of the design philosophy so you will be buying item x again and again. There are only so many consumers, and many of these items are durable items which unlike say, cars, don't have a business model where folks want the newest model just because. To for corporate growth and continued sales, they do this as their model.
 
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723
Location
Lower Alabama
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
I think the thing is that this is part of the design philosophy so you will be buying item x again and again. There are only so many consumers, and many of these items are durable items which unlike say, cars, don't have a business model where folks want the newest model just because. To for corporate growth and continued sales, they do this as their model.
Exactly. Most window AC units sold today don't even have ports to recharge the refrigerant. They were designed to be tossed and replaced, not fixed.
 
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9,108
Location
Marshfield , MA
Craigslist free stuff has been my lawn mower source for almost 10 yrs now. Why buy a new one when there are 2 yr old mowers going for free? Furniture too. Stuff made in the 50's is better than anything made today.
 
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7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
American consumerism (and has since expanded into other parts of the world) has always been driven by price, not quality. that's why summer time: you can buy those sino made 120V tabletop fan for 15 bux, etc. guess how long would they last? Or that particular Boxing day sale many moons ago @ WM where and old lady was trampled while waiting in line for boxing day sale (somewhere in the south, Texas perhaps?), only to get that 20bux DVD player or something.... What you pay is really what you get, period. Sometimes, it pays to spend a little bit more to get better, more lasting quality and reliability. Q.
 
Messages
792
Location
Denmark
Originally Posted By: andyd
Craigslist free stuff has been my lawn mower source for almost 10 yrs now. Why buy a new one when there are 2 yr old mowers going for free? Furniture too. Stuff made in the 50's is better than anything made today.
Yeah... And the weather was better, it was not so hard to pee and stairs was much Easyer to walk on. Or maybe not. I really doubt that is true. Though I can hardly speak about things that way back with my 28 years of age. I know things always seemt better then they really where.
 
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628
Location
DuQuoin, Illinois
My dad brought a window fan in the late 1940's that would cool the whole house down in the evening. I still have it and it works good as ever. I did have to put a new cord on it about 30 years ago. Other than that a little 3 in 1 oil once every year or two is all it's needed. Mom raised cain because he payer 25 or so dollars for it.
 
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838
Location
One Step Beyond
I have a Floor Fan my parents bought in 1965 - Still works today. My Snow-Thrower was made in 1977 - Rebuilt, but still works like new. My Telephones are the "rotary" kind, made in 1968, still working. Most items bought today are designed with planned obsolescents. I hate buying 'new' [censored].
 
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3,577
Location
no. indiana
Originally Posted By: andyd
Stuff made in the 50's is better than anything made today.
Sure about that? Show me a car made in the 50's that would go 2-3-4 hundred thousand miles with no valve or ring job. Show me an oil that would last 10,000 miles. Check out the quality of oil filters, compared to what was available in the 50's, even the imported ones. You buy cheap, you get cheap, and there are times when cheap is more than sufficient for ones use.
 
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43,667
Location
'Stralia
+1 to the business model argument. I've heard it used even on ultra reliable st eam turbine plant. And typically consumers that I know (and I'm using consumer specifically) don't want an everlasting gobstopper...because in a greater or lesser time they will want a new colour/flavour. E.g. Tvs...we never got plasma...they lasted less than our replacement interval, while friends had a couple of iterations. Air con/refigerators are a pet peeve of mine...Aussies can't buy cans of refrigerant due to envirinmentsl regs. Saw an article by one of my old professord on how much gas escapes due to young frudges beung scrapprd. At least they are now moving to hc refrigerants for fridges. But you can still buy diy split system air cons fully charged and advertused as being transportable/relocatable.
 
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9,108
Location
Marshfield , MA
Originally Posted By: jcwit
Originally Posted By: andyd
Stuff made in the 50's is better than anything made today.
Sure about that? Show me a car made in the 50's that would go 2-3-4 hundred thousand miles with no valve or ring job. Show me an oil that would last 10,000 miles. Check out the quality of oil filters, compared to what was available in the 50's, even the imported ones. You buy cheap, you get cheap, and there are times when cheap is more than sufficient for ones use.
I won't go back and edit it now, I am a bit under the weather. Anyway the "stuff " I was referring to was furniture,desks,dressers, tables, etc. Not "stuff in general" Cars without power disc brakes are virtually un-drive-able in today's traffic. A 50's era drive train couldn't handle it either. As for a rotary dial phone, What do you do when the monkey block says " press one for English'" ? grin2 Now , my broad sweeping ,glib, glittering, statement about cars with drum brakes not being safe to drive will get me replies to the contrary grin2
 
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Messages
5,532
Location
Canada
Originally Posted By: andyd
Originally Posted By: jcwit
Originally Posted By: andyd
Stuff made in the 50's is better than anything made today.
Sure about that? Show me a car made in the 50's that would go 2-3-4 hundred thousand miles with no valve or ring job. Show me an oil that would last 10,000 miles. Check out the quality of oil filters, compared to what was available in the 50's, even the imported ones. You buy cheap, you get cheap, and there are times when cheap is more than sufficient for ones use.
I won't go back and edit it now, I am a bit under the weather. Anyway the "stuff " I was referring to was furniture,desks,dressers, tables, etc. Not "stuff in general" Cars without power disc brakes are virtually un-drive-able in today's traffic. A 50's era drive train couldn't handle it either. As for a rotary dial phone, What do you do when the monkey block says " press one for English'" ? grin2 Now , my broad sweeping ,glib, glittering, statement about cars with drum brakes not being safe to drive will get me replies to the contrary grin2
I agree. It really frosts me when a xxx dollar item is rendered useless for the sake of a 1 cent component. But possibly even worse, is when there is a failer from a purely design point of view ie. an item is rushed to market seemingly before anybody has actually tried to use the darn thing (the buying public do the R&D) America seems particularly bad for this. I have a elderly friend that is totally blind, her house is a virtual Time Capsule or 40's and 50's stuff. often I'm asked to Fix stuff that breaks (she would have a hard time getting acquainted with something new) Believe me there was a lot of Junk made back then!
 
Messages
231
Location
Tucson, AZ
shDK, Everything posters that are saying about quality products that used to be made to last are true. As you say you are only 28. Those of us, myself included, that are considerably older, have seen quality decline. We aren't talking about arguable subjects like whether life was better 50 years ago, as it would depend on who you are, your race or socioeconomic status, etc., but the quality or lack there of, seen in everyday products. There has been a push for design to obsolescence. In contrast, that is why in competitive industries such as automobiles, where consumers are no longer settling for poorly made, inefficient products, manufacturers are having to recall their vehicles in numbers never before seen. Look at GM, for one. But your basic, and we even refer to them this way, disposable products, are made that way, intentionally. It breaks, and we'll buy a new one, most likely with a credit card. Ugh. frown. I mean Artem can't even get a toy for his kids to last a week. frown Household appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, even toasters, used to routinely last 15-20 years. Now we live in a disposable society. And it's worse here in the US, because we accept it and don't demand better. And until we stop accepting it, products won't improve. Just my 2¢, Gary
 
Messages
17,301
Location
OH
Originally Posted By: HardbodyLoyalist
I hate to say it, but most Americans aren't willing to pay for good design. And until they are, it's a race to the bottom as far as most manufacturers are concerned.
Most Americans are willing to pay for quality. They just don't know the difference between a ninety nine buck special window AC unit form Walmart versus a two hundred dollar one. If people understood that a quality product is often actually cheaper per year of use, they'd be more willing to pay the upfront price premium. OTOH, you don't always get what you pay for in more expensive appliances wearing high-end brand names either.
 
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