iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The Landfill Designers

Listen now 30 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Last on

Thu 14 May 2009 21:00 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 14 May 2009

Journalist and designer John Thackara investigates why scientists and designers are deliberately planning for failure. Many products and scientific advancements are now deliberately given a short shelf life. John asks what impact the 'landfill designers' are having on scientific progress, the environment and our expectations of the technology we use every day.

The term 'planned obsolescence' was coined in the 1950s but has never been more relevant. John explores how, paradoxically, this focus on a throw-away society is helping science to advance in unexpected ways. Our desire to have the latest style can mean more in landfill, more children in China and India sifting through toxic waste, but it can also mean an innovative approach to new technologies and reusable materials.

An All Out production for BBC Radio 4.


Featured in...

  • Living By Design

    A selection of programmes relating to the history and application of design.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss