The best time to replace everything

Expiration Date Cheat Sheet

Expiration dates come on almost everything — from butter and eggs, to your lipstick and pillows. Some grocery items are not always entirely accurate, and certain household items should be recycled earlier than expected. The truth? The lifespan of the things we buy isn’t always as straightforward as you may think.

You may be surprised that canned fish can last a lot longer than you think. We associate fish with that most noticeable of expiry symptoms — the bad smell. But tinned tuna may be good for three years or more. The people who come up with the expiry dates are often basing them not on when the food goes bad — but just when it becomes ‘noticeably different’. Some connoisseurs even prefer it when their canned fish has ‘matured’!

Other items may seem to last forever, when really the opposite is true. A child’s booster seat for example should only be used for about six years. It can be so common to receive one as a hand-me-down from another family but over time, its effectiveness as a safety item can become compromised.

There’s a lot of give-and-take when it comes to getting the best value from the things we buy, but you stand a better chance of coming out on top if you’re informed about what’s going on. Our new infographic gives a great ‘at-a-glance’ guide to the estimated lifespan of over forty household items and there are a few surprises in there. It’s a great way to begin engaging with the items you own, and taking back some of the decision-making power from the manufacturers!

Please note that some products have their own expiration dates that differ from the average. Make sure you check the labels, especially on safety-related items like child car seats.

Expiration date cheat sheet

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