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COP26: Why are there little to no sustainable options in the white goods sector?

As the end of the first week of COP26 approaches, much has been agreed by the UN. So far, it has been announced that 100 countries have signed up to a deforestation pledge, Ecuador will expand its marine conserve, 190 countries have agreed to end coal-fired power, and more. Amongst of all of this progress, a light is being shone on the areas which still need work such as the white goods sector. In fact, a brand new study by Which? has just revealed that as well as saving the planet, people could also save thousands of pounds by switching to greener domestic appliances.

Lupe Technology, a vacuum cleaner start up designed by a former Dyson engineer, is well aware of the cost creating new things has on the planet. Indeed, the UK’s leading sustainable vacuum cleaner has been founded on the premise of deconstructing the built to break nature of domestic goods. This motivation has been part of a wider effort to overturn the notion of planned obsolescence, which has been further countered by new Right to Repair laws introduced this summer, making spare parts available to consumers, with the aim of extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years.

The Pure Cordless is crafted from recyclable plastic and delivers high performance whilst far outliving the expected shelf-life for typical household appliances. Other vacuum cleaners may use thinner plastic which is welded together instead of using bolts to reduce price and weight but these are then more easily broken and irreplaceable, forcing consumers to throw the model away and purchase even more single use plastic. Lupe’s Pure Cordless vacuum, however, is made from durable plastic which is bolted together to make the unit as built-to-last as possible. In the unlikely event a part does break, each individual small part of Lupe’s product has been designed to be fully removable, recyclable and replaceable.

Lupe Technology is also very aware of the carbon footprint mass consumer household appliances have, and are the only vacuum cleaner brand committed to offsetting the carbon for each model sold, with the aim of becoming carbon negative during 2023.

In a ground breaking study on just how much damage the domestic appliance sector inflicts on our planet, Lupe Technology has revealed that despite the fact that 45% would happily pay an extra 25% more for a domestic appliance that is greener and more energy efficient and lasts longer, the data has found that 1 in 10 Brits have been through a minimum of 15 vacuum cleaners in their life, amounting to a staggering 58,635,000 units, with almost a fifth agreeing that their vacuum cleaner is the most built to break appliance in their house, amongst a myriad of other household goods. This research has demonstrated the overwhelming disconnect between consumer intent and product availability, unveiling a disconcerting issue within the white goods sector which needs to be addressed in order to reduce further harmful impact on our planet.

Key Stats*

39% (13,883,000) agree that the hardware breaking on their vacuum, and the parts being irreplaceable, is the primary reason as to why they need to replace it
36% (14,881,000) agree that the suction power of their vacuum cleaner has noticeably decreased over time and is the primary reason they’ve had to replace it
1 in 10 (3,909,000) agree that in their adult life, they’ve been through a minimum of 15 vacuum cleaners
19% (6,915,000) agree that their vacuum cleaner is their most built to break appliance in their house
15% (6,503,000) agree that they buy cheap vacuum cleaners and find that they have had to replace them multiple times in their life time
12% (4,668,000) agree that their vacuum cleaner is the quickest to break appliance in their home with just 3% (1,466,000) agreeing that it is the easiest to replace
45% (21,794,000) would happily pay an extra 25% more for a domestic appliance that is greener and more energy efficient and lasts longer
53% (25,616,000) agree that environmentally friendly initiatives now have a greater influence over the brands they shop with/buy from
54% (24,413,000) agree that a priority of theirs this year when buying new domestic appliances is to ensure their home is as green as possible
81% (39,427,000) agree that when purchasing their next appliance, they will ensure that it is more energy efficient than their current model
*(nationally representative research carried out across a body of 2096 respondents, in full compliance with the British Polling Council Guidelines)

Pablo Montero, Co-Founder of Lupe Technology, comments on the culture of domestic appliances that are built to break:

“The public conscience of climate change, pollution and excess household wastage has undoubtedly increased in recent years, and has motivated consumers worldwide to seek more sustainable and ethical products. Yet despite all our good intentions, we are hamstrung by a trend of built-to-break gadgets and household appliances, which is contributing to an appalling amount of plastic pollution and electrical wastage in Britain.

The Pure Cordless is the domestic appliance designed not just to shake-up the vacuum market but the entire home technology arena. We have strived to make a product as reliable and long-lasting as possible and hope consumers understand our mission to make technology stand the test of time.

When designing the Pure Cordless, we had two core values; class-leading performance and longevity. The launch has represented the realisation of this and six years of hard work to make the best possible cordless vacuum available today while thinking about our environmental footprint. This is a product that has been designed to change our attitudes towards consumable electronics and home appliances.”