Can the use of a smartphone be environmental-friendly?


When we buy a new smartphone, tablet or laptop, very few of us think about the environmental impact that our previous devices will have. A lot of discarded electronic devices become a part of so-called e-waste (or electronic waste). According to the estimates of the United Nations, in the US less than a quarter of e-waste is recycled. The situation in other regions of the world is even more disappointing.

Can the use of a smartphone be environmental-friendly?

Why is it important to think about electronic waste?

Modern devices are almost 100% safe to use. But they may contain different toxic materials that can pose a serious threat to air, soil, water, and wildlife. Being buried at a landfill, e-waste can dissolve and as a result, some part of the toxic materials can get into the groundwater. And the poisoned waters can be consumed by people and animals which may lead to serious consequences.

Can the use of a smartphone be environmental-friendly?

How can you get rid of your electronic devices “wisely”?

Actually, there are several ways to avoid throwing away your gadget.

Variant 1. For example, when you want to buy a new device, you can find someone who wants to take your old device. Sometimes it can be your child or friend, or somebody else who has lower requirements for their mobile devices. But you should bear in mind that in such a case you just make the lifecycle of your smartphone/tablet longer as it is highly likely that the second owner will also just throw the device away but a little bit later than you could do that.

Variant 2. You can turn to so-called mobile phone leasing/rental companies. This approach can be referred to the concept of the shared economy. You can take a smartphone from such a company and then return it back and somebody else will use it after you.

Variant 3. Probably this variant is definitely the best one. And that’s recycling. The materials that your device was produced of will be recycled and used for manufacturing new devices. In such a case, you not only prevent your phone from becoming a part of e-waste but also help to reduce the mining of new metals which also has a strong impact in the environment.

If you also think that recycling can be a good idea, read our recommendations on how it can be done.

Want your old iPhone to be recycled? Here’s a plan

Apple is ready to take their devices back for recycling. If you are not satisfied with your old iPhone, you can send it to one of the company’s partners.

  • Step 1. If you want to recycle your smartphone, make sure that you’ve created a reserve copy of all your data. It will allow you not to lose your settings and content.
  • Step 2. Do not forget to delete all your personal information that you keep on your gadget.
  • Step 3. When everything is ready, pack your device, place a sticker that will indicate that your gadget should be recycled (usually, you can find these stickers as well as the info about the company’s recycling partners in the box but if not, you can look for all the necessary contacts on the website) and send it to one of the recyclers.

How to recycle your Samsung phone

Samsung also offers a similar recycling program.

All you need to do is to bring your Android phone to one of the outlets/offices of Samsung or its partners. The list of such points with addresses is available on the company’s website.

After your old device is taken for recycling, you can be absolutely sure that it won’t cause any harm to the environment.

Today many companies, including mobile phone producers offer recycling services. It means that we, as consumers, can take care of our planet without any special efforts.

Emma McCarron
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