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Waste Crime

Bruce Barbour - August 2021

It should be a crime for companies to waste food and other items.

Supermarkets and other food manufacture and handling industries will have to put in systems to ensure that food does not go to waste. It has to be sold or given away before it goes off.

Similarly it will be a crime to throw away manufactured items, including new electrical goods and new clothing.

These crimes will be punishable by company fines in the first instance, getting higher for subsequent waste events.  If the waste crimes continues the general manager and directors will become personally liable for payment of fines, which will not be able to be reimbursed by the company.

(This is to counter appalling recent (2021) instances where some large resellers have thrown out perfectly good new items (electrical goods and other items) in order to not flood the market and to keep prices high. It has probably been going on for years. They were systematically dumping at the tip/landfill millions of dollars worth of goods monthly, and even sacked staff if they dared to take any thrown out item for their own use. Who ever said that capitalism was efficient was wrong. Efficiency means nothing, it is only profits that count in capitalism and if that means throwing away perfectly good items to maintain scarcity and therefore price that is what they will do.)

Outlawing Planned Obsolescence - and Shoddy Manufacture

Also in a similar vain I would outlaw planned obsolescence. This is where a manufacturer designs and manufactures an item so that it will breakdown after a couple of years (after the warranty period has expired!) forcing people to buy a new item. And of course there is virtually no economic repair option available.

Personally I think this is a flawed approach by the manufacturer because if this happens to me I certainly won't buy another of that item from the same manufacturer. In fact in the future I probably won't buy any item from that manufacturer. However it seems to be a thing. You see it a lot in the mobile phone market, where manufacturers were hard-wiring in the battery so when the battery went the phone was no longer usable and had to be replaced.

The only way to do this is to mandate long warranties and a longer period where the manufacturer has to support and repair the product that they supply for the cost of the materials and a nominal handling charge (at least for a break down that is not caused by the user). So at least a five year warranty and a ten year support period - upping those time periods over time.

Mandating long warranty should also cut down on just plain shoddy manufacture, whether it is planned obsolescence or simple incompetence.

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