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Subscription Appliances – Save Money and Live Sustainably?

Last updated on September 10th, 2023

The Global Problem

The world is a big place, and human populations are growing globally – is it even possible to have a sustainable future and live sustainably with such a large and growing population? The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle philosophy and Sustainable products – often just a greenwash – can only take us so far in a human world demanding ever more resources.  Global energy consumption has increased by more than 30% over the past decade, with countries like China and India driving that growth. Climate change is already affecting us all, but even if we’re able to adapt our way out of it, we need to make sure that we don’t add further damage when we do so – This will only increase the problems associated with climate change in the future.  In addition to climate change we seem to have forgotten the myriad of other environmental problems that were already causing problems before climate change become the focus issue of the environmental movement.  Single use plastic, nuclear disasters, habitat and rainforests being converted into farmland, degradation of environment, toxic waste, landfill – the list goes on and on.

What are subscription appliances?
Subscription appliances are a great way to get the same appliance you would otherwise buy but as the name implies – you subscribe to them instead of buying appliances, and pay a weekly or monthly subscription fee.  Brands like LG, Samsung, LG and Electrolux that you’d otherwise buy at big box stores like Harvey Nroman or the Good Guys or even buying online at somewhere like Appliances On Line are now available as a service instead of a physical good – serviced electric appliances.  Instead of buying physical electric appliances you subscribe to them.  And because you no longer own them and you’re paying for functional safe working electric appliances, you can demand that they are repaired or replaced at no expense to you if there’s a fault.  Because you’re not paying for the electric appliance, you’re paying for the fridge to keep your food at the right temperature, your clothes to be washed effectively, to be entertained by your TV, and for your clothes to be dried correctly – and so on.  For all intents and purposes the electric appliances have a lifetime warranty!  And if your lifestyle and budget and budget change – for example you might move house and your fridge doesn’t fit your new space, or perhaps you have a baby and need a larger washing machine – you can simply swap out for the appliance you need, when you need it!

How are Subscription Appliances the Sustainable Alternative?
We are not here to shame you by telling you that subscription appliances are the best for a sustainable future and if you don’t choose subscription appliances you are not living sustainably living.  It has long since been established that the concept of personal responsibility for climate change “your carbon footprint” was a marketing exercise by fuel giant BP.  The reality is that a handful of companies around the world are responsible for climate change, and many of them are actively campaigning to prolong the use of fossil fuels and the damage cause by climate change because ultimately, they don’t have to pay for the clean-up, and their current business is very lucrative.  At Whybuy we believe you should try to live sustainably and take some personal responsibility for your actions.  Simple things like sorting your recycling and organic waste where services are available into the correct bins.  Reduce, reuse recycle.  If you have an old inefficient refrigerator, it can be replaced with a newer model that reduces energy use.  Little things that are within your power to change, that don’t mean your quality of life is worse.  We don’t believe in flight shaming and reduce energy usage to the point where you’re living in the dark.   The technologies exist to end climate change now.  You should have a choice to fly on an electric plane.  Your electricity should be generated with one of the myriad sustainable energy options available.  It’s not even particularly expensive and has been shown to be much cheaper than continuing to emit carbon.  The most important thing you can do is vote for climate action and laws that hold polluting companies to account, because you can bet those same companies are bribing and lobbying government for their own benefit, to the detriment of you, your children and the environment we all share.  

We are here to tell you about the benefits of subscription appliances, not guilt you about your “carbon footprint” and do the propaganda work of petrochemical companies for them,  We will give you the facts without the spin, and you can make up your own mind. Subscription Appliances are more sustainable for one key reason.  The interests of the subscription appliance business is aligned with a sustainable future.  A subscription appliance retailer wants to keep the appliances running as long as possible- so they repair them whenever they break.  If the appliance is irreparable, it is stripped for its useful parts like control boards or fridge shelves, switches, and doors which go into other appliances that require repair.  The sad reality is that in many countries, like Australia, the cost of labour is so high, while it might be a sustainable practice to have your appliance repaired it is usually not the economical choice.  To get a repairer out to look at the appliance, you need to pay a call out fee even if the appliance is irreparable, you need to pay for the repair – and if it’s not fixed, you’re back at square one.  And this is where we come full circle to what we were discussing earlier – where you should have sustainable options, instead of having to choose between an uneconomical repair where the risk reward doesn’t work out, or making the sustainable choice.  This problem in the appliance industry causes flow on effects – people buy cheaper more poorly built brands knowing that if it breaks they won’t repair it, just throw it out and get another one.  These more poorly built brands are usually less efficient using more power and water, and have shorter lives, and don’t do as good a job as the more expensive machines.  
Subscription Appliance businesses on the other hand have an interest in selecting good quality machines that won’t give them maintenance headaches, that they always have to go and repair or maintain.  More easily repairable machines that will have long service lives.  Subscription Appliances is very aligned with the reduce, reuse, recycle philosophy.  At the same time though, and running counter to the sustainable interests – the other main consideration is the cosmetic quality of the electric appliance to the customer.  Sure, you can make a good quality appliance run for 20 years, but the customer probably won’t be very happy with it when it arrives!  Most subscription appliances businesses have a full refund on delivery policy if you’re not happy with the electric appliances on delivery, or you can always just return them whenever you want, that’s the beauty of subscription appliances for the customer!  So it’s a balance between a pretty machine, and getting as much life out of the machine as possible, before a customer would be anything less than happy with it.  Finally most subscription appliances businesses have protections if an appliance develops a fault – for your peace of mind.  Fir example Whybuy has a $150 food spoilage protection policy if one of our Fisher and Paykel fridges develops a fault causing your food to go bad, so we’re also careful not to push things past their service life, as we’re the ones who end up paying for it!
It could be said that by repairing appliances and keeping them in service longer, more power and water will be wasted because newer electric appliances will be more efficient and have smart technologies to reduce energy use.  While there was substantial efficiency gains to be had in the last 20 years efficiency gains have largely diminished in the last few years, and without any breakthroughs in smart technologies its hard to see how appliances would get more efficient.  For example, a fridge runs on the same technology it did 50 years ago, and it has been perfected over time to substantially reduce energy use since then, there have been no major breakthroughs – only improvements.  In fact you could take a 50 year old fridge and make it more efficient than a fridge built yesterday simply by adding more insulation to its body.  Often we look to these smart technologies to save us, when we’ve always had the answer to our problems in front of us.  

Subscription appliances can be a part of a sustainable future.

Subscription appliances are a great way to reduce waste, save money and help the planet.  They can certainly help us move toward a sustainable future. 

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