I’ve been a homeowner for forty years. In those forty years I’ve had two catastrophic failures with a refrigerator/freezer; one last week and the other a year and a half ago. The first failure occurred when the freezer door fell off as I opened it. The hinges had simply given up and tore off the body of the appliance. That led to a complete kitchen remodel and all new appliances. Last week, during the heat wave, I noticed my beer was not as cold as I would like but I just got home from a long day on the job, it was late and I had to work the next morning. Besides, what I thought was a temp gauge on the door read “37 Degrees”. The following morning, with the gauge still reading 37 degrees, I opened the door to disaster. A quick check with an infrared thermometer told me the refrigerator was 65 degrees and the freezer was 45 degrees. I know a little about food safety, enough to know that anything over 41 degrees for more than three or four hours is dangerous for foods that require refrigeration. We tossed out the entire contents.
After a long argument with the manufacturer, once we learned that the appliance was not repairable by the local seller (too complicated), we had a technician come out three days later to replace virtually all the mechanical cooling parts of the appliance. He said he was repairing about six a day. The bill came to $700, but that went to the manufacturer. I know live knowing that in five to six years, this new appliance will not be worth repairing when it bites the dust, and it will wind up with the others, in a land fill.
In the UK, Mary Creagh is an MP who is behind a movement to make changes to this and go back to the days when things like this were built to last, instead of designed to break down because this creates profit for the companies.
Is there anyone our congress behind similar legislation?
One suggestion I can offer is to make the manufacturers responsible for the complete recycling of their products once they have reached their usefulness. If it breaks and the cost of repair outweighs the price of a new unit, the manufacturer ought to be fully responsible for completely recycling their product with none of it going into a landfill. I’m sure there are a lot of things to consider here, so let’s start a conversation. Yes, we should do the same with cell phones, computers, the whole lot.