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Consumer Information for SCP Programme

Product Lifetime Extension

Explore resources on product lifetime extension and circular economy

This webpage collects resources and tools on the topic of product lifetime extension. Product lifetime extension is the postponement or reversal of the obsolescence of a product through deliberate intervention, thus contributing to circular economy.  

Here, you can access reports, case studies and other relevant materials on measures and processes to be taken by the private sector, governments and consumers, to accelerating the circular economy by extending the useful life of products. You can read our flagship report “The Long View” to learn about policy recommendations to address product lifetime extension, and be inspired by real-life good practices that target business solutions on product design and use. 

The Long View: Exploring Product Lifetime Extension

The Long View report aims to provide recommendations on the opportunities available to consumers, private sector and especially governments, of developed and developing economies, to fight against planned obsolescence and address product lifetime extension, strategies that in turn contribute to the circular economy. Product-specific policy measures and opportunities for product lifetime extension are presented.

Policy Instruments on Product Lifetime Extension (PLE)

Relevant policies that countries have in place, or aspire to, for addressing product lifetime extension.

It aims at providing an overview of diverse policies and regulatory approaches for product lifetime extension across the globe. The current review may provide a useful illustration of the main instruments and initiatives through which some countries have promoted the topic of product lifetime extension. This mapping focuses exclusively on policies and regulatory measures that aim to extend product lifetimes by designing more durable products, by extending their desirability or their use through maintenance, upgrades and repurpose, and by recovering broken products through repair, refurbishment or remanufacturing.

Case Studies

Seven case studies were collected to illustrate or exemplify product lifetime extension strategies: remanufacturing, repair and recovery, second-hand market and upcycling. Our aim with these case studies is to inspire and encourage organisations to shift to more circular models, to improve their business models towards prolonging or extending a product’s lifetime.

In addition, four case studies from South America, Asia and Europe were developed to showcase how consumer information tools can be used by organisations to address product lifetime extension. The objective is to provide real-life examples of different approaches that can be used to extend the lifetime of products.

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​An estimated half a billion chargers are shipped for portable devices in Europe each year – and many of these are duplicates...

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European consumers lack the means to improve the durability of their products. In addition to harming the environment by...

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The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by...

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The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by...

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The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by...

Video

This video explains what product lifetime extension is and what it means for everyone on the planet. It highlights how businesses can apply product lifetime extension and circularity concepts to their corporate strategies and how consumers can help too by making little shifts in their daily routines.

Infographics

These two infographics summarizes business strategies on how to extend products lifetime. and highlights elements from the case studies listed above. This is by no means an exhaustive list of strategies.

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The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by...

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The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by...

Events and webinars

Did you miss any of our public events or webinars? Here you can find the recording!

Watch the launch webinar of the report The Long View (12 October 2017): here 

Watch the webinar ‘Product Lifetime Extension: Which business models work?’ (30 January 2019): here

Watch the webinar 'Longer Lifetime for Products: A Compelling Case Towards Circularity' (5 September 2019): here

Watch the webinar 'Vers une consommation plus durable : l’allongement de la durée de vie des produits' (24 February 2021): here

Training on product lifetime extension

UNEP currently offers a training course which guides companies, policy makers and civil society on strategies to implement product lifetime extension whithin the scope of circular economy. The main objective of the training is to strengthen the technical capacity of stakeholders in support of the implementation of product lifetime extension strategies and initiatives. The training introduces the concept of product lifetime extension within the scope of circular economy and discusses measures that can be taken by policy makers, businesses, consumers and NGOs related to the topic. If you are interested in receiveing more information on this training, please reach out to us!

Are you interested in joining our Working Group on 'Using Product Lifetime Extension to Advance Circular Economy'?

Led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Akatu institute, this newly created working group aims to build a critical mass of engagement within and across different sectors (private, public and civil society) to raise awareness and engage consumers on product lifetime extension. The working group intends to push progress towards product lifetime extension policies and practices worldwide, bring together a network of organisations, facilitate the dialogue between them and better engage and communicate with consumers on PLE practices. To join this Working Group or get more information contact ciscp@un.org

Want to know more about product lifetime extension?

Please check below other guidance materials recommended by us:

A Longer Lifetime for Products: Benefits for Consumers and Companies (European Parliament, 2016)

Obsolescence: Political strategies for improved durability of products (German Environment Agency, 2017)

Strategies against obsolescence: Ensuring a minimum product lifetime and improving product service life as well as consumer information (German Environment Agency, 2017)

Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy - Final Report. Prepared by LE Europe, VVA Europe, Ipsos, ConPolicy and Trinomics (European Commission, 2018)

Ecodesign Requirements for Textiles and Furniture (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2018)

Repair or replace? Extending the life-span of your home appliances – FAQs and helpful hints (Öko-Institut e.V., 2018)

Re-defining Value – The Manufacturing Revolution. Remanufacturing, Refurbishment, Repair and Direct Reuse in the Circular Economy (IRP, 2018)

Business models for the circular economy: Opportunities and challenges for policy (OECD, 2019)

Influence of the service life of products in terms of their environmental impact: Establishing an information base and developing strategies against obsolescence (German Environment Agency, 2020)

Promoting Product Longevity (European Parliament, 2020)

A new Circular Economy Action Plan: For a cleaner and more competitive Europe (European Commission, 2020)

Impacts and Insights: Circular IT Management in Practice (TCO Development, 2020)

White paper Durable and repairable products: 20 steps do a sustainable Europe (HOP / Halte à l’obsolescence programmée, 2020)

Long Live the Machine: How ecodesign & energy labelling can prevent premature obsolescence of laptops (ECOS, 2020)

One Charger to Fit them All: Using ecodesign to deliver an ambitious common charger initiative (ECOS, 2020)

Economic and Ecological Effects of Extending the Useful life of Electric and Electronic devices (Öko-Institut e.V., 2020)

Durable, repairable and mainstream: How ecodesign can make our textiles circular (ECOS, 2020)

Collaboration

The product lifetime work of the Consumer Information Programme is led by UN Environment and Akatu Institute and funded by the French Ministry for Ecological and Solidary Transition.