I think it’s safe to say that smartphones are now in the hands of about half the world’s population and on the rise. These days, smartphones have evolved to become far more than just a way of making calls. They are a mighty tool for environmentalism and can affect our planet in a positive as well as negative manner. Smartphones are electronic gadgets that require fossil fuels and some amount of hazardous materials to manufacture. With this in mind, you are probably wondering what Sustainability is on an Eco-Friendly Smartphone.
Sustainability in Eco-Friendly Smartphones means they are manufactured using recyclable and non-toxic materials. It also means that they are made to be extremely durable, easy, and inexpensive to repair. It also means they use less energy and can be charged efficiently. Moreover, it means they are made using replaceable parts.
This article will detail Eco-Friendly Smartphone’s sustainabilities. How an eco-friendly mobile phone can be more sustainable and the most environmentally friendly phone. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out more. This discourse will undoubtedly be an eye-opening read for you. Stick around for more!
What is Sustainability on an Eco-Friendly Smartphone?
Smartphones have become popular all over the world. You are probably reading this right now on a smartphone. They have become an integral part of our lives. It’s now hard to imagine life without them. But in all truth, have you ever wondered about the environmental impact of your smartphone? What happens to it once you get a new one? You see, to better understand sustainability in eco-friendly phones, we, first of all, should discuss what eco-friendly Smartphones are.
As more and more people become aware of their smartphone’s environmental impact, they switch to using eco-friendly phones. Eco-friendly smartphones are phones that are earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment in any way. An environmentally friendly smartphone features reduced energy consumption, non-toxic materials in manufacturing, low radiation emissions, and durability.
Rare earth materials are needed for the components of smartphones, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, to name a few. This material makes smartphones some of the most resource-intensive products by weight on earth. Mining of these materials is mostly fueled by oil, thereby contributing to high carbon emissions.
Please read some of our many other articles on “Smartphone AI: Helpful Artificial Intelligence For The Beginner” or “What Is 8K on a Smartphone’s Camera?”
We All Want The Latest, Best, And Smartest Phone
We all want the latest, best, and smartest phone, and this means the life span of our devices is short. On the one hand, fully-functional phones are thrown away, while other manufacturers don’t design phones that are durable and easy to repair.
So at the end of the day, e-waste continues to grow on account of smartphones. Very little is collected and recycled, which is terrible for the planet in the long run. The impact of pollution from the hazardous materials and metals used in making smartphones negatively impacts the environment.
There is good news, however. Eco-friendly smartphones are outstanding publicity. So smartphone manufacturers have an incentive to invest resources in environmentally conscious devices. So more and more “green” phones are being manufactured. But at the end of the day, are these devices sustainable?
Sustainability In An Eco-Friendly Smartphone
Sustainability in an eco-friendly smartphone means using sustainable and recyclable materials in the construction of such phones. About 80% of the carbon footprint of a smartphone occurs during manufacturing. So sustainability in eco-friendly phones involves using materials that will have a minimal impact on the environment.
Sustainability in an eco-friendly smartphone also means manufacturing them to be durable, easy, and cheap to repair. This way, you get to use the phone for a long time before you have to replace it with a new one.
Sustainability also means making eco-friendly smartphones that use less energy and can be charged efficiently.
In addition to this, a sustainable, eco-friendly smartphone will be made using replaceable parts. That way, if one part is damaged, you don’t have to throw the phone away. Instead, you can have it re-fit with new parts.
So if you are looking to get an eco-friendly smartphone, you must check to see whether it’s sustainable. If you truly want a sustainable and eco-friendly phone, try getting one with all the features we have discussed above.
How Can Eco-Friendly Mobile Phones Be More Sustainable?
E-waste is a significant problem in the world today. A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows that there are approximately 20-50 million tons of e-waste generated all around the world annually. It is estimated that this figure is increasing by about 40 million tons every year.
Eco-conscious individuals will recognize the role they play in this. Smartphones being popular all over the world can be a great tool to help reduce this figure. Making eco-friendly phones more sustainable makes it possible to reduce the carbon footprint that these devices leave on the environment.
At this moment, you are probably already wondering if this is possible and, if so, how to go about it. The truth of the matter is that it is possible to make eco-friendly phones more sustainable. Here are some of the ways to do this:
Refurbishment usually has a negative stigma attached to it. But in reality, it’s a cheaper alternative that is just as good as a brand new smartphone. An eco-friendly phone can be made more sustainable by making sure it can be refurbished or renewed even after the previous owner discards it. Manufacturers should bring such phones in and do what is vital to ensure the device works just like a new phone would and is also of comprehensive quality.
So the next time you think of getting a new phone, see if there are any refurbished versions that you can buy instead of getting a brand new one.
2. Using Less Toxic Materials In Manufacturing
Eco-friendly smartphones can be made sustainable by using less harmful or toxic materials for manufacturing them. By doing this, the chances of polluting the environment are reduced significantly, and the overall carbon footprint of the devices decreases.
3. Using Recyclable Components
It’s possible to recycle some parts of old smartphones to use them in making new gadgets. This is viewed as one of the more responsible ways of disposing of old models. It is one way of making an eco-friendly phone more sustainable.
4. Investing In Robustness, Not Planned Obsolescence
By investing in a phone’s robustness to increase its lifespan and not planned obsolescence, eco-friendly smartphones can be made sustainable. Manufacturers should make sure that the devices they roll out are durable and can be used for a long time before replacing them. These devices should also be made in such a way that they are easy to repair. This way, e-waste contributed by smartphones can be reduced significantly.
5. Focusing On Energy Efficiency
Another way of making eco-friendly smartphones more sustainable is by focusing on energy efficiency. This transformation is achievable by making phones that use less energy. It is also possible to attain this by making phones that can be charged efficiently. The batteries need to be durable and as well as easy to replace.
That is how eco-friendly phones can be made sustainable. These changes will reduce pollution and build-up in landfills caused by all forms of cellular phones.
What Is the Most Environmentally Friendly Phone?
In this day and age, one of the hardest things to do is to find a phone that is entirely eco-friendly and has no negative impact on the environment. Choosing an environmentally friendly phone can be a challenging and daunting task. To this end, it’s also much harder to know which the most ecologically friendly phone is.
It is not easy to figure out what is genuinely the most Eco-Friendly Smartphone because of so many factors involved in the selection. For this reason, we have done a deep dive into the internet and come out with some choices if you are an environmentally conscious person.
Apple’s iPhone is made with 99% recycled tungsten, and 98% recycled rare earth elements. It is 53% more energy efficient, using less power consumed than the U.S. Department of Energy requirements for battery charger systems.
It is the first smartphone with 100 percent recycled rare earth elements in all of its magnets. They are using processes through chemistry that is benefiting the iPhone by making the following intricate to the device:
- Arsenic-free display glass
- Brominated flame retardant–free
Apple uses responsible packaging, with 100% of the paper products and wood fiber coming from recycled and accountable sources. 93% of the packaging used is fiber-based and uses less plastic in packaging.
Apple also has a trade In program so you can return your device, and they will give it a new life or recycle it for free.
Apple has also committed to transitioning its entire manufacturing supply chain to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030.
Apple has committed to being Carbon Neutral, and by 2030, all of its products will be too. Although today that is not the answer, it is undoubtedly going in the right direction.
Apple’s offices and stores are already carbon neutral. They have a corporate initiative for Environment Policy. As stated on their website, Apple is working to minimize its impact on the environment. They are addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency. They are also using greener materials and working on inventing ways to conserve resources.
The Google Pixel is focusing on environmental performance over the full life cycle of this Smartphone, from design and manufacturing through usage and recycling.
It has been designed with the following key features to help reduce its environmental impact.
- Mercury-free LED-backlit display
- Arsenic-free glass
- Brominated Flame Retardant (BFR)-free
- The aluminum in the enclosure is 100% recycled content
- 98% paper and fiber-based packaging
- Power adapter with Level VI efficiency rating
- It is shown on the EPEAT Registry to be EPEAT Gold
As it says on Google’s Sustainability website that operating in an environmentally sustainable way has been a core value from the beginning of the inception of their company. Their business has evolved to include the manufacturing of electronic products. They have continually improved each of their product’s environmental performance and minimized Google’s impact on the planet.
They also state that the production, transportation, use, and recycling of electronic products generate GHG emissions that increase global temperatures. Google conducts a life cycle assessment of the products they produce to identify materials and processes contributing to GHG emissions, intending to eliminate and lessen these emissions.
According to the Nokia Environmental profile, their environmental features are the following:
The materials used on the Nokia, through careful material selection, reduce the environmental impact of their products. The list below shows the estimated proportions of the materials used to create this mobile device.
- Metal: 22%
- Battery: 26%
- Plastics: 44%
- Ceramic materials: 7%
- Other: 1%
- Free of PVC
- Free of nickel on the product surface
They have minimized 100% recyclable packaging made of renewable material that contains up to 65.33% recycled material. 85.3% of the device materials can be recovered as materials and energy.
They proactively manage and keep track of all the substances in their products, not just those that raise concerns. They have strict requirements for substances that are not allowed in their products. Their products fully comply with all relevant global regulations.
Energy consumption and the supplied battery comply with the EU Battery Directive 2013/56/EU and do not contain cadmium, lead, or mercury in concentrations higher than those defined in the directive.
The supplied charger meets the EU ErP directive and regulation 278/2009 and the EU Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency of external power supplies.
Teracube markets itself as the next evolution of sustainable phones. Its website says that most smartphones last an average of 2 years or less. Teracube is an Android 10 smartphone that is engineered to last longer and is backed by an industry-first 4-year warranty.
The warranty covers all parts, performance, labor, and two-way shipping at no cost to the customer. Free warranty shipping for Teracube 2e will be available in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.
The Teracube 2e phone comes with a biodegradable case, battery, and screen protector. The charger is not included. It says it has the most eco-friendly packaging ever, with 50% less packaging made with soy ink and recycled paper.
It has a reduced carbon footprint and no redundant cables or chargers. When you purchase the Teracube 2e, you get a Phone and Battery, Biodegradable Case, and Screen Protector but no charger.
The reason it has no charger is because they eliminated the charger and the cable to save wastage. They say the Teracube 2e uses USB-C charging and is compatible with almost all USB-A to USB-C chargers that most people already have (not compatible with USB-C PD chargers).
The Fairphone 3 is considered one of the industry’s current green leaders and is only sold in Europe. It is extremely easy to repair, and according to iFixit, a global community of people helping each other repair things, it has a 10/10 repairability score.
The company sources materials from suppliers who share in their vision of a green and sustainable planet. The company claims that it uses responsibly sourced tin and tungsten. It also uses recycled copper and plastic and sources fair trade gold.
The Fairphone 3 is designed to be modular and easily recoverable. Parts of the phone can be repurposed for use on other devices, and the company offers repair tutorials for users.
It is made from aluminum and recycled plastic. Less toxic materials are used to make this phone, making it a sustainable choice. Due to the focus on reparability, this phone’s parts can be replaced without a fuss, drastically extending this phone’s life. Therefore, it is a durable smartphone and can be used for up to 3 years.
Fairphone’s undertaking to make a fairer phone for the world’s environment makes them one of the most eco-friendly alternatives to most smartphones in the market.
Samsung does not have a smartphone environmental breakdown per phone like some of the other U.S. Smartphone manufacturers. They do have a Samsung Electronics Eco-management philosophy and web page link above.