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Beyond “New”: Why Prolonging Product Life Matters

You probably hear these terms all too many times: global warming, biodiversity loss, rising emissions…etc. But there is one critical environmental threat often left out of the conversation: resource extraction.

sustainable lifestyle

The Unsustainable Cost of "New"

We are often so accustomed to the linear “take-make-waste” system that we rarely consider the fact that every new product we buy comes at a hidden cost – the extraction of raw materials. According to the International Resource Panel, material extraction accounts for over 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This translates to numerous environmental issues, such as deforestation, water pollution, and soil erosion.

The Circular Solution: Making More with Less

To break free from this cycle of extraction and its consequences, many governments and institutions have been making progress in advancing the circular economy. One of the key principles of circular economy is keeping resources in use for as long as possible. This means:

  • Designing products for durability and repairability: Imagine electronics built to last and easily fixable, not destined for landfills.

  • Repairing and refurbishing existing products: Giving pre-loved items a second life reduces the need for new ones.

  • Reselling and sharing products: Platforms facilitating the exchange of used goods keep resources circulating.

  • Recycling materials at the end of their lifespan: When products finally reach their natural end, responsible recycling ensures materials are recovered for future use.

By extending the lifespan of products, we can significantly reduce the demand for virgin resources. This shift not only benefits the environment but also offers economic and social advantages. The Benefits of Prolonging Product Life:

  • Reduced environmental impact: Less extraction means less pollution, habitat destruction, and resource depletion.

  • Conservation of precious resources: We can extend the lifespan of existing materials, leaving more for future generations.

  • Economic benefits: A circular economy creates jobs in repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing sectors.

  • A shift in mindset: We move away from a "take-make-waste" model and embrace a more sustainable lifestyle, valuing mindful consumption. 

Towards a More Sustainable Lifestyle: Make Every Product Count

According to Sitra's report, practising a sustainable way of life is important to 78% of Finnish people.

Making small changes in your buying habits can have a big impact.  Look for products designed to last, consider repair options over replacements, and explore pre-owned alternatives. By supporting businesses that embrace circular practices, we can collectively minimize resource extraction and build a more sustainable future.


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