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Wasted... £47,000 of household items we dump in our lifetime

By Stephanie Bell

Published 17/08/2016

People in Northern Ireland throw away more than £47,000 worth of broken or unwanted household items in their lifetime, according to new research
People in Northern Ireland throw away more than £47,000 worth of broken or unwanted household items in their lifetime, according to new research

People in Northern Ireland throw away more than £47,000 worth of broken or unwanted household items in their lifetime, according to new research.

Skimping on quality costs us a small fortune, with the average householder here chucking out almost £785 worth of items every year.

From toasters to TVs and microwaves to mobile phones, the research showed that two-thirds of modern purchases are not built to last. Of those polled, seven in 10 said items made 20 years ago lasted longer than products made today.

The results of the survey by British manufacturer Origin showed we expect our cars to have the longest lifespan of our purchases, coming in at an average of 11 years before a replacement is required.

Putting in less impressive times are the burnt-out electric toothbrushes (four years), mobile phones (five years) and kettles (six years) heading for early retirement on the scrapheap.

Fridges, freezers and ovens are expected to last 10 years apiece, while the dishwasher puts in a respectable eight years before calling it a day.

The average home stereo is expected to pack in after a decade of use, while the springs start to come through our mattresses after nine years.

Fashion is throwaway for younger people - only 34% are willing to spend more money on higher-quality apparel.

When asked to estimate the value of the clothes they throw away annually, the average NI resident reckoned they chuck almost £96 worth of garments each year.

Fifty-four per cent described themselves as ruthless when it comes to dumping their belongings, with old clothes most likely to make the heap.

The binman will also collect £80 worth of furniture, £77 worth of electricals and £73 worth of home appliances from each of us per year.

Over-55s cared more about build quality than younger generations, and were less confident about fixing broken appliances and items themselves, with only 35% willing to get stuck in.

Origin manager director Andrew Halsall said: "We live in a throwaway culture and are regularly bombarded with offers that can seem too tempting to pass up. But as the survey shows, buying cheap and cheerful isn't always best."

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