Made to last: Product life extension through emotional durability

Silkstone, Robert ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Made to last: Product life extension through emotional durability. In: Student Sustainability Research Conference 2020, 26 February 2020, University of Leeds.


We are in an age of incontrovertible climate change, yet efforts to tackle this crisis have largely focussed on the adoption of renewable energy generation and energy efficiency. This research will instead focus on the vast amounts of embedded carbon emissions within the design of products by tackling the ever-growing problem of eWaste through circular design and emotionally durable design. Consumers are continuously replacing and scrapping electronics that is growing three times faster than any other type of waste in the EU, Greenpeace (2015). In an effort to challenge this paradigm of consumption Chapman (2005) proposed Emotionally Durable Design as a theory and design strategy to encourage people to keep products for longer. The research will be underpinned by Emotionally Durable Design and qualitative mixed methodologies to uncover the reasons why people form attachments with certain products. Forming an attachment with a product is created over time and the longer a product is owned the more likely feelings of sentimentality and nostalgia will form, Page (2014). It is this attachment that can form between a user and their product that can be meaningful enough for the user to delay or prevent product replacement. This attachment research will then inform the design and development of new sustainable products that are designed with the whole product life cycle in mind through the consideration of sustainable materials that improve with age and can work within circular business models for long term sustainability.

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