The Return to Long Product-Life Expectancy — Spotlight on Reuse

Every product has a life cycle that makes up its time of usefulness. Phones, vehicles, and even commercial buildings—will start to diminish in value, eventually reaching the point of waste. Designing products with a short life cycle is so prevalent these days that no one gives it a second thought. 

Planned obsolescence is a practice we see too much. Waste has to go somewhere, and landfill is becoming an increasingly limited resource. If we embrace reuse and invest in things that last, we can shift towards a circular economy, rather than continuing to follow the waste cycle. What if society as a whole returned to the idea of building and using products with a long life expectancy?

What Is Product Life Expectancy?

Product life expectancy or product lifetime is the time interval from when a product is designed to when it is discarded. Product life expectancy represents its essential scope:

  • Design 
  • Sustainable development
  • Use
  • Reuse

Though not always possible with every product, a circular economy begins with the idea of rebirth. Additionally, the materials and energy resources used in the design, production, distribution and even end-of-life, including disposal, can affect environmental outcomes.  

All of these impacts may be significantly lessened when a long product life cycle comes into play. When product life expectancy is prolonged, the use of energy embodied in carbon will be minimalized, consequently creating a more sustainable environment.

Operating and Maintaining Products in a Way That Prolongs Use

Growing consumer demand and the rapid advance of technology mean that numerous devices reach the end of their useful life after only a few years. When products are discarded, they represent an economic and resource loss. 

In a 2021 Statista report, electronic waste is the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, reaching 53.6 million metric tons in 2019. Businesses adopting solutions to counter these negative effects may be commended for proactive thinking. 

Operating and maintenance models that prolong the life cycle of various products and their parts include:

  • Empowering repair of products: Repair activities can increase the product’s life while also increasing its efficiency.
  • Refurbishing products for reuse: Many products are usually discarded despite being functional or replaced because a newer model is on the market. Refurbishing or upgrading these items to a working condition not only makes them suitable for resale or reuse but is also economically feasible and involves little resource consumption in most cases.
  • Investing in products with long product life cycles: Building systems that provide decades of use without becoming obsolete or losing their effectiveness are changing the game for commercial property owners and facility managers who have embraced this approach.

Designing Products for Reuse and Multiple Cycles

The decisions made when designing a product can significantly impact how circular it will be. For instance, a phone can be designed in such a way that makes it easily repairable and its components easily upgradable. Today, numerous products are designed to meet customer needs during the first phase of their life cycle, but not thereafter. This negatively affects the entire system in which they are manufactured, used, and disposed of.

Manufacturers can create reusable products by merging a user-centric and holistic approach to product design. New solutions such as blockchain, open-source, cloud designing, and artificial intelligence can further speed up innovation within the product and material design.

The introduction of performance-based business models, in which customers pay for the use of the product instead of the product outright, has increased the incentive to design high-quality products with longer lifespans. This means that product design strives to enable repair, component reuse, upgrading, material sorting, and recycling by making sure that the product doesn’t have materials that may be problematic in further use and is easy to take apart.

Gridd Adaptive Cabling Distribution System Promotes Longevity and Reuse

Gridd adaptive cabling distribution system is an access floor that ensures that changing technology infrastructure is fast and efficient. Unlike other raised floor designs, Gridd® is a revolutionary Adaptive Cabling Management System® that meets today’s demanding business environment while also ensuring that workspaces can evolve seamlessly as a business requires.

Some reasons investing in Gridd has benefited organizations for decades:

  • Innovative Design: The Gridd system design takes teams through technology and workplace iterations. Moreover, it is designed for limitless reuse compliance. Unlike typical types of cable distribution, Gridd makes cabling easily accessible. The technician only needs to remove the floor covering and open the channels, without the use of tools, to make any cabling changes.
  • High-Performance Materials: Gridd is a UL-listed, all-steel, modular adaptive cabling distribution system. What this means is that it has been tested and found to meet the standard requirements. Gridd’s high-quality materials promote the longevity of raised floor technology.
  • User-Centric Convenience: The ease of installation and reconfiguring Gridd makes evolution possible. The end-user need not sacrifice the authenticity of their design or break their budget to make changes to their cabling system. In many cases, the changes to a room can happen over a weekend, preventing disruption to a business operation.

Gridd Design Facilitates Greater Simplicity as an Organization Evolves

Long product life expectancy is not so much about purchasing a raised floor, but investing in the ability to change and adapt to best serve the needs of the people who work in the space. Having an adaptive cabling distribution system is one of the most effective ways of facilitating that outcome. Gridd simplifies changes:

  • IT Infrastructure Upgrades: Gridd can be installed easily without tools or fasteners. Moreover, in case there is a need to upgrade or add to IT infrastructure.
  • Meeting Room Reconfigurations: The Gridd system uses a series of modular, removable, and interchangeable steel base units, corner plates, channel plates, that make it easy to reconfigure rooms to meet the users’ needs.

The Return of Greater Sustainability

Gridd makes the circular economy possible in the built environment. That is due to its exceptionally long product life. In fact, organizations can pick up the system and move it to a new room, building, or even campus. Solutions like Gridd enable the reuse of a product indefinitely. This ability to reuse is greatly reducing the consumption of resources and the creation of waste.

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