Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer in 23.75K gold

overall rating:

1.25

planets

Beth Wilson
8/14/2021
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When I think of Dyson I think cutting edge technology, engineering at its best and therefore sustainability. But after browsing through their products, what started off as an efficient, innovative vacuum cleaner brand is now bringing out new lines of luxury electricals at an alarming rate, making me consider whether Dyson is now of any benefit to the planet, or simply joining in the consumerist fast culture.

Something I like about Dyson is that what care they do have about sustainability seems to be genuine as opposed to greenwashing, even if they prioritise profit. They have put in huge effort behind the scenes, ensuring their research buildings & offices are low carbon and have teams working on eliminating single-use plastic and transport emissions. Dyson is also developing and investing in sustainable farming technologies and incorporation of carbon-capture. They have their own farm which now owns over 35 acres of English countryside and has been carbon neutral since 2019 - it creates more electricity than Dyson itself uses and their customers use in their products every day which does a lot to offset the damage caused by products.

What it's made of:

0.5

There are multiple parts in this dryer, including 3 different nozzle add-ons, heating element, motor and cable. I am quite alarmed at the lack of transparency as to what materials are used and where they’re sourced. I had to get in touch with Dyson and even then all I could get was “Dyson get their raw materials from a company within Singapore” which is extremely vague and means that I can’t say how sustainable the materials are. 

I was told by a Dyson live-chat employee that the gold is actually a metallic paint, rather than the 23.75 Karat gold it claims, “so it’s sustainably and ethically sourced”. However, I then found that it “features real gold leaf” coating on the hairdryers so it seems the employee was ill-informed (or trying to get herself out of a tricky situation?). Another employee had zero information on the gold or any other materials used so I think it’s fair to conclude some employees are very poorly informed and this information isn’t widely available. So, again, I can’t say how sustainable it actually is, but in general gold is unethical and unsustainable.

How it's made:

1.5

According to James Dyson, the plastic industry dishonestly said that if you make a moulding it has to be two to three millimetres thick; otherwise, you can't fill the mould. At great expense, Dyson pioneered a tool that was one millimetre thick and can now produce products that use one third of the plastic. 

Dyson claim that for the past twenty years, they have focused on reducing the energy used by products in-use during their lifespans and this was certainly true with their vacuum cleaners (eliminating plastic bags) and hand-dryers (87% less energy use than warm air dryers) which used ground-breaking technology. The supersonic hairdryer is a third of the weight of the other 20 best-selling hairdryers from when it was launched so it clearly uses fewer raw materials than its competition. However, there’s no information to suggest it uses less energy than its rivals.

Who makes it:

1.25

I couldn’t find any information online or in the product manual about where was made but when I got in touch I was told: “Dyson machines are currently researched and developed in the United Kingdom and manufactured in Malaysia, then shipped all over the world.” This means the hairdryer will often accumulate a large amount of emissions from travelling across half the globe since the majority of customer base is in western Europe and North America. 

However, Dyson’s Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement is very comprehensive and all-encompassing, so it seems as if this is an issue they care about, though it’s too long for customers to quickly skim through. Do check it out below to form your own opinion!

Sources:

https://www.dyson.co.uk/hair-care/dyson-supersonic/dyson-supersonic-blue-gold

https://www.dyson.co.uk/inside-dyson/sustainability/modern-slavery-statement 

https://www.wired.com/story/james-dyson-interview-march-2020/