I have a table listing microbiology equipment supplies like microtubes, microplates etc. The rightmost column is called "срок годности" in Russian, which means "term of suitability", and is usually translated as "expiration date". The data in the column are in the format "12.2017" (month.year).

But isn't "expiration date" for edible and/or organic items and other "expiring" things only? The microtubes won't "expire", they might last several centuries yet, due to being made of plastic.

What could be a better name for this particular column? "Use by date"?

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    RE: But isn't "expiration date" for edible items and other "expiring" things only? Well, expiration dates can be found on coupons, too, for example. – J.R. Jul 18 '16 at 19:19
  • @J.R. - that fits into the "expiring things" category, IMHO. The expiration date there is for the discount offer. – CowperKettle Jul 18 '16 at 19:25
  • And meat, milk, and bread don't themselves "expire"; they're usually already dead when you get them. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 18 '16 at 19:25
  • @StoneyB - so it's okay to use "expiration date" for pieces of equipment, accessories, supplies etc? – CowperKettle Jul 18 '16 at 19:27
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    @gattsbr Warranty only refers to manufacturer responsibility for any defects. Has nothing to do with product support or useful life. – user3169 Jul 18 '16 at 19:52

I do tend to think of "expiration date" as being for food (at least initially) but it's used quite often to refer to non-edible things.

For example, child safety seats have "expiration dates":

Car Seat Expiration – Did you know your car seat expires? Graco stamps an expiration date into the bottom of each car seat so you know when it is time to replace it. Expiration dates can range anywhere from six to ten years or more depending on the car seat – so it’s important to check your particular seat.

So, this "expiration date" is the date that they believe the plastic to have degraded enough that it is no longer safe to continue using.

I think that, since it sounds similar to your use, "expiration date" would be an acceptable phrase.

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