A combine harvester spend only 6 % of its life in work


Crawler tracks, GPS, yield monitoring down to a few centimeters, even drive itself, yet, for most combines, all that invention and material sits idle for less than 10 % of its life.

The circular economy: 11. The average EU car is at rest for 92 % of its life.

The science: The truth is that most of the things we buy for a use, are not actually in use for most of the time we own them. My guess is that as the figure for EU cars is 92 % stationery with the engine stopped is probably true, it also applies to farm tractors.  In a quick calculation, I have just estimated that a modern combine harvester, costing maybe well above £250,000 and containing some of the most advanced engineering, is probably not in use more than about 6 % of its life.

The bad news: Probably, car ownership by individuals will have to be curtailed but governments in democracies probably will not dare to do it at all and certainly not soon enough.

The good news: Well, progress is being made.  To get costs down, the budget airlines run their aircraft round the clock – or as close to that as noise regulations at airports allow. In cities, residents and visitors get used to congestion making driving a car slow (average speed of a car in London is 3 mph – about 4.5 kph) and go by public transport.

 Bill Butterworth          Land Research Ltd      2 June 2016