Keeping Landfills In the Black

Like the cheap duds of fast fashion, these products are designed to be replaced.

By Spencer Bailey


Street Umbrellas

All it takes is a quick gust to render these $5 jobs useless. Hundreds of thousands of them end up in the dump every year.

Aerobie Discs

Designed by a Stanford engineering lecturer in 1984, they fly so well they end up as tree ornaments.

Solo Cups

Solo Cup, which is valued at $1.6 billion, has thrived making vessels designed to last only as long as a frat pledge’s sobriety.

Gillette Razors

Before 1901, when Gillette introduced its safety razor, the world’s shavers rarely bought new blades.

Ikea Furniture

Affordable particle-board isn’t meant to last long. Some professional movers won’t even guarantee its safe transport.

Incandescent Light Bulbs

Phillips makes an LED alternative that lasts 20 years — but where are the profits in that?

Swiffer Mops

Traditional mops are fine, but Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer pads, which run about $19 for a 36-count pack, get more return business.


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