Compare and Recycle

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

Four people holding iPhones and Android phones

It is estimated that by 2028, mobile subscriptions will surpass 9 billion. We're currently living in a 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 increasingly advanced power houses infused with intelligence like never before. With companies releasing dozens of new phones per year to match 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 with just one phone unlock away. Our days consist of constant alerts and notification 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 of these ultra smart connections come at a price. Will it be a hefty price tag you're about to pay for the latest phone, your well-being or watching our planet pay to enable us with these luxury items?

If you're reading this than we assume your bubble is starting to burst. Doesn't matter what the reason is 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're just happy you're here looking for ways to go green. So, let's get straight to it and answer the question titling this post - how can I make the purchase of my new phone more earth-friendly.

In This Article:

How can I make my new phone more green?

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

That's up to 90% of the total emissions of a device. Think about that 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 you can probably agree that with the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 revolutionary hardware already released, there won't be any major improvements for the next few years.

Let's be honest, phones these days are incredibly similar, it's just companies offer their own take 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 to your savings.

Choose longer contracts

Another option is choosing a 36 month contract. The cost of mobile phones have been steadily increasing in recent years. As a result, it can be much more affordable to sign up to a longer contract and pay for the phone over time, as opposed to paying for it upfront. 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.

When people upgrade their phones more frequently, it of course creates more e-waste. By choosing a longer mobile phone contract, you can help to reduce the number of smartphones that are being produced and disposed of each year. So it can be a great way to help protect the environment and conserve resources.

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 yourself is a big challenge, 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 its carbon footprint.

Option 2 - Do Not Waste It Away

We'd advise this option to come in tandem with the one above, here's why:

When we throw something away (e.g. a phone), there's no 'away' frankly speaking. It ends up somewhere else polluting the environment and valuable recyclable materials it was built from, are wasted.

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 over you?

That's where Compare and Recycle come in.

Take advantage of our free mobile phone recycling comparison to trade in your old phone for cash. What happens next is, the phone that you're either already replacing or planning to replace gets refurbished to quality standards and resold with 1 year warranty. You get cash, boost your green credentials and the phone that was once yours, gets used for longer. By offsetting the CO2 emissions generated during its production, you contribute to a more sustainable approach and make the disposal of your used phone more environmentally friendly.

Option 3 - Rethink Mobile Phone Shopping

To be honest, this option 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 certainly not least.

Have you heard of refurbished phones? (If you're scratching your head right now, don't worry, we just mentioned it in the paragraph above).

Note: Prices correct on 05/06/2023

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.

Relevant reading:

If you are already sucked into an Apple, 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 just be a frustrating experience.

That's where refurbished phones come in. These are the same phones Apple, Google and Samsung 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 the same 1 year warranty brand new phones come with. It is a cost-effective solution for the financial and environmental stakes. We bet you're thinking: "Why haven't I bought my phone refurbished!?"

The only downside is that it takes time for the latest models to appear on a refurbished 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. It's also worth looking into the eco-rating of the phone because this is something that is often overlooked. The eco-rating of your phone is based on a number of factors, including the materials used in its production, its energy efficiency and its recyclability. A high eco-rating means that the phone has a lower environmental impact.

Relevant reading:


So as you can see, there are a lot of factors that tie into being more environmentally conscious when it comes to purchasing a new phone. It's easy to rethink your purchasing habits to ensure they fall inline with what is more earth-friendly, especially when those habits also make your wallet a bit heavier too!


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