Product Life Cycles

Laptops and mobile phones are domestic products that we sometimes grow attached to. Do you have any old electronic devices that you can’t use, but can’t bring yourself to get rid of?

This week I went to a very interesting and valuable workshop run in connection with the RSA’s Great Recovery project. The workshop explored the problems and possibilities connected to developing circular systems of design, production and consumption. At the moment, design and manufacture are ‘linear’ processes that rarely consider the end of the product’s life cycle. When a laptop or mobile phone comes to the end of it’s useful life, it is not easy to dissemble, or to extract and reuse the valuable raw materials used in its construction.

OiP website shredded hard drive

The workshop took place on the premises of S2S, who specialise in the recycling of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), and the destruction of data. I am fascinated by the material fragments created by shredding a hard-drive, and the thorough and secure processes used to make sure the data is permanently destroyed. Here’s a photo:


Julia Keyte 2012