French website helps you save cash (and the planet)
Money saving tip! Helping people keep appliances longer – saving money and helping the environment – is the aim of a new state website.
Longuevieauxobjets.gouv.fr has plenty of practical information, including a directory of more than 76,000 associations and businesses that help consumers keep items for longer.
There are videos showing how to look after appliances better.
For example, the site explains that half the breakdowns reported to after-sales services are due to poor maintenance – 70% of toasters returned are simply choked with crumbs.
For vacuum cleaners, the advice is to change the bag when it is 75% full and clean the filter with warm water every three months.
A video shows how to descale a washing machine with two litres of white vinegar and a hot wash programme, and how to clean the filters.
Measures like these mean appliances will work for longer, avoiding the need to buy a new one.
There is a section, diagnostiquer les pannes, where, by answering questions, you can discover what steps to take to solve a problem yourself.
For example if you have a problem with your dishwasher you click Lave vaisselle and the site’s virtual assistant ‘Cyril’ asks for additional information like the brand and model number before offering practical advice.
The site also offers ideas about buying second-hand, reconditioned, items rather than new and there is information about what symbols mean, from recycling to washing instructions.
Official eco agency Ademe has studied environmental and economic advantages of using objects longer.
It found that if everyone kept their TVs for nine, instead of the average eight, years, it would reduce CO2 emissions by 1.7m tonnes – equivalent to that produced annually by a city such as Lyon.