How Can I Make The Purchase Of My New Phone More Earth-friendly?

Over 9 billion mobile connections worldwide and counting. We're currently living in the world where the number of mobile phones on the planet is growing five times faster than the number of people.

Every year our smartphones become more advanced power houses infused with intelligence like never before. With companies releasing dozens of new phones per year to match any usability needs, smartphones become irreplaceable.

Messaging, mobile gaming, video views, music, shopping on the go, health and dating apps - anything you can imagine is available just one phone unlock away. Our days consist of constant alerts and notifications bombardment - memes you're tagged in, suggested videos that you just keep watching and everything in between. It’s easy to forget there’s a world outside this bubble and all these ultra smart connections and comfort comes at a price. Would it be a ££££ price tag you're about to pay for the latest phone, your well-being or price that our planet is paying to enable us with this luxury item.

If you're reading this than we assume your bubble is starting to burst. Doesn't matter what's the reason behind it - climate change, alarming e-waste rates, curiosity, courage to try something out of your comfort zone or simply your first steps to becoming more eco-consious in your smartphone shopping. We are happy you're here and looking for ways to go green ?? So let's get straight to it and answer the question titling this post.

How to make my new phone more green?

If you haven't seen our report on Smartphone Impact On The Environment then we'll quickly remind that lion's share of mobile phone's carbon emissions is created before you get your hands on it.

90% of the total emissions of a device. Think about it for a split second.

With current upgrade cycles of 2 years, we don't even have a chance to offset CO2. Or do we?

Option 1 - Extend ownership

If you just bought a brand new phone, your best option is to use it as long as you can. Longer than 2 years. It is doable and we think you will agree that with the iPhone X and Galaxy S10 revolutionary hardware already released there won't be any major improvements for the next few years. To be fair, phones these days are incredibly the same, just companies offer their own takes on different features and designs. Keeping your phone for longer will cut down on its impact on the environment and switching to a SIM-only contract after you bought out your phone will add up to your savings.

Choose longer contracts

Another way to go is to opt in for a 36 month contract. It's way better in terms of extended ownership of a phone and you might as well grab a nice deal that will have lower monthly payments compared to 24 months or shorter contracts.

Fix it

Majority of us want to replace their current phone due to a few chips here and there, battery not holding the charge long enough or spiderweb screen has become unbearable. Attempting a DIY screen repair requires lots of courage, but there are various online tutorials to assist you if you decide to repair your phone yourself. If you feel like repairing your phone on your own is a big challenge for you, our guide to mobile phone repairs explains and shares advice on other repair options so you can continue to use your current phone for longer and reduce your carbon footprint.

Option 2 - Do not waste it away

We'd advise this option to come in tandem with the one above and you will see why right now.

When we ditch something (e.g. a phone) away, there's no 'away' frankly speaking. It ends up somewhere polluting the environment and wasting away its value of recyclable materials it was built from.

We mentioned above that phone ownership needs to be extended way longer than contract deals last. So how can you achieve this and still enjoy your new shiny phone without waster guilt looming upon you?

Compare and Recycle that is. Let us explain.

You can take advantage of our free mobile phone recycling comparison to trade-in your old phone for cash. What happens next is that you give a second life to your old phone you already bought a replacement for (or planning to) as it gets refurbished to quality standards and gets resold with 1 year warranty. You get cash, you boost your green credentials, the phone that was once yours gets used for longer resulting in CO2 of its production being offset and you made the disposal of your used phone more sustainable.

Option 3 - Mobile phone shopping rethink

This option, to be fair, should be listed as number 1, but since we are describing a scenario where you've already got a new phone, this one comes last but not least.

Have you heard of refurbished phones? (if you said no - we have just mentioned it in a paragraph above, you silly)

Refurbished phones are great. Literally great. Both for the environment and for your wallet and  you don't need to make sacrifices performance wise either.

If you are sucked in Apple or Samsung or other ecosystem alike, you won't go for one of Fairphone's green phones that has a 8MP rear camera and 2GB of RAM, let's be honest. It will be just a frustrating experience.

That's where refurbished phones come in. These are same phones Apple, Google, Samsung, Huawei release but the only difference is that they have been refurbished and resold on a second hand market with a lower price. Same internals, same software, same accessories, with wiped data and same 1 year warranty brand new phones come with. It is a cost-effective solution for the financial and environmental stakes. We bet now you're thinking: "Why I haven't bought my phone refurbished!?"

The only downside is that it takes time for the latest models to appear on second hand market, so if you're dead set on getting the latest Galaxy or iPhone model, check our refurbished range in a month or two after the official release and thank us later.

When choosing a new phone, pay attention to internal storage capacities and display size options. It turns out that more CO2 emissions are produced when manufacturing larger phones with bigger storage variants. Bear this in mind when picking a new phone, go for a basic model and upgrade with less impact on the environment.


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