I'd be interested to canvas other members views on this. My view is "about time" - not for consumers to mend appliances themselves, but for appliances to be designed and manufactured for long service lives. My perspective comes from experience in three different manufacturing industries where longevity was a given, our products were expected to be serviceable for 20 years, and in practice typically lasted considerably more - 30, 40, 50 years. I get very frustrated if a piece of domestic equipment fails in an unserviceable way after, say, 5 years - recently happened with our gas cooker (which was actually pretty naff from day one). Then of course there's the electronic equipment that fails just after the warranty expires - I'd suggest that's completely unacceptable from a resource point of view. We know a huge amount now about design for reliability and design for serviceability, from an ethical point of view shouldn't we be applying this more?
I'm glad to see this article also considers the question of whether we should be encouraged to replace perfectly serviceable equipment in the name of energy efficiency. As it states, this all depends whether the energy expended in producing the equipment and disposing of the old equipment could actually exceeds the potential saving - which I suspect it often does.
Andy Millar CEng CMgr IET Mentor / IET PRA