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There are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users on the planet - almost half of the world's population, and that figure is only growing. However, as convenient as smartphones are, this is actually an environmental disaster thanks to the pollution that's given out from the extraction of elements such as gold, cobalt, or lithium to build the device. Not only that, but the aveerage user switches phones every 2 years without recycling it, causing toxic waste and squandering materials.
Did you know that 80% of a phone's carbon footprint is created at the manufacturing stage? This includes the mining, refining, transporting, and assembly of the product itself.
So, with all that in mind, how can you make your phone a little bit greener? Well, to start, we're going to give you a quick breakdown materials and what they're used for to get a better understanding of what goes into your phone.
Iron: For the speakers and microphones.
Aluminium and Magnesium: For the frame and screen.
Copper, Silver, and Gold: For the electronic circuits.
Graphite and Lithium: For the batteries.
Silicon: For the processor.
Lead and Tin: For soldering.
Because of all these materials, greenhouse gas emissions are their highest with your smartphone, even if you watch a lot of TV or spend ages on your gaming console. The mining of the above elements are the problem when it comes to mobiles affecting global warming - it also causes destruction of ecosystems, and toxic by-products to seep into soil and the surrounding areas.
As consumers, there are several solutions to help off-set the environmental cost of your phone. Hoarding obsolete devices by putting them in drawers doesn't do the environment any good - so we've come up with ways to make sure you get the most out of your old mobile.
1. Recycle your phone once the contract is up. Many mobile companies, or third party companies, may take, or even pay you for, your old phone to encourage recycling. If you're not sure, ask your mobile network about recycling when upgrading.
2. Extend the lifespan of your mobile for as long as possible. You can do this by removing unnecessary apps and photos, using a screen protector and case, keeping the battery in good shape, avoiding malware, and generally using good practice to keep it running for longer.
3. Opt for a three year contract instead of a 2-year to increase the longevity of the device, or switch to a pay-as-you-go plan. The longer you can use one phone, the better.
4. Purchase a second-hand refurbished phone from Swycha! Swycha carries a whole host of premium, second-hand iPhones at a fraction of the usual cost. Good for the environment and your wallet!
Just by being a bit more mindful of how we use and buy our mobiles, we can help negate the environmental cost of our favourite device. To see Swycha's full collection of phones, you can click here, or alternatively, why not check out one of the articles below to learn more?