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Stop smartphones killing the planet

Stop smartphones killing the planet

Being honest, smartphones are not great for the environment. But it need not be all doom and gloom – they can be recycled and there are many things the likes of you and me can do to reduce the carbon footprint of our phones.

From energy-guzzling cloud servers to rare materials used in construction and bad mining practices, various things connected with smartphones are not good from an environmental point of view.

At The Techout we are huge believers in recycling, so selling us your old devices, buying refurbished devices or getting your phone repaired are all ways you can do your bit to become more eco-friendly.

What is the current problem, and how bad could it become?

Canadian researchers have estimated that by 2040 the ‘information and communications industry’ (that’s phones ‘n’ computers ‘n’ stuff) will represent 14% of the world’s carbon footprint, whereas in 2007 it was just one per cent. [Source Assessing ICT global emissions footprint: Trends to 2040 & recommendations - ScienceDirect]

Many of us change our phones every two years or so, whether because we want the latest model, or the manufacturer has designed them with a set lifespan and it has stopped working, or something has broken.

An estimated 1.5 billion smartphones are bought each year, meaning the same number has been disposed of – and many of those are not recycled.

Phones contain tungsten, a surprising amount of gold, cobalt and other rare earth elements, yet they end up going to landfill or just sitting in a drawer somewhere, then more energy and environmentally unfriendly efforts are required to replace them.

The phone industry has recognised this and Apple in particular seems to be leading the environmental charge, using recycled tungsten, aluminium and other elements in its products.

It is also reducing its single-use plastic packaging by 75%, using green energy sources at its facilities and aims to be carbon neutral across the board by 2030.

So what can you do? Sometimes something as simple as getting the battery replaced will drastically extend the life of your phone, but there are also places such as The Techout that can help you keep your phone for longer, or ensure it is recycled in one way or another.

We buy your old tech, and that includes laptops, tablets and consoles. What has that got to do with being green? Well for one thing, we refurbish that tech to our very high standards and sell it on to a new owner – so it’s back in circulation with no extra carbon footprint and no one had to head out to the tungsten mine to make more.

Or of course we can repair your old phone, replace the battery, give it a clean-up – good as new and able to give you more years of service.

Lastly, but just as important, if your device has gone to Silicon Heaven, its soul marches on, because we can re-use and repurpose many of the components (as

long as they meet our rigorous testing regime) and extend the life of many other devices, returning them to active service.

We call it recycling and it is something we are committed to. You might say our business wouldn’t function without it.

We do more than just talk about it though. We plant a tree for every device recycled with us through our website and through our partner Ecologi, so the ‘Techout Forest’ is steadily growing thanks to every customer who brings us their phone to be recycled. (And you get paid too).

So help us save the planet. One smartphone at a time.