Why buying refurbished phone is better for the planet?
According to Counterpoint, about 19,406 smartphones were bought in India every hour in 2021. Surprisingly, almost half of these phones are changed within two years of purchase by consumers. With such trends prevalent globally, it is no shock that smartphones contribute to 12% of global e-waste. The waste from these smartphones will only grow multifold in the future.
An important question here is how we can, as consumers, play our part in reducing the carbon footprint and preventing the usage of scarce mineral resources.
To keep up with changing needs, upgrading our phones to newer phones is inevitable. An environmentally conscious choice is to switch to refurbished mobile phones instead of buying a new one.
When you buy refurbished phones, you're doing more than just getting yourself a phone in pristine condition at rock-bottom prices. Believe it or not, you are helping the environment as well.
Check out the points below to understand how a switch to refurbished phones can have such a positive impact on the environment:
1. Reducing carbon footprint through renewed phones
According to Deloitte Insights, a brand-new smartphone generates an average of 85 kilograms in emissions in its first year of use. Ninety-five percent (95%) of this comes from manufacturing processes.
If you opt for a refurbished smartphone, you save almost 80% of the carbon emission, which is enormous.
Refurbished phones use less energy because they don't require all the components for manufacturing and are assembled in a factory. Only the damaged parts are replaced to ensure the quality and experience of the smartphone are as good as a new one.
2. Refurbished phones can reduce E-Waste
As per a study by Ademe, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, a new smartphone generates approximately 200 gm of e-waste. In contrast, a refurbished smartphone produces less than 80%.
Imagine if even 50% of India's smartphones purchased last year, i.e., 161 million phones, were refurbished; the total e-waste saved would have been approx 13,000 metric tons
3. Can refurbished phones save water?
As per watercalculator.org, to manufacture one smartphone, 3,190 gallons (12,760 liters) are used. This amount is enough to meet the daily water requirement for an average urban Indian for 94 days. Most of this water is used to mine minerals used in mobile phones.
Renewed Phones use almost zero water as only a few components may be changed if needed. Purchasing a second hand phone will conserve water supply for future generations.
4. Reduce the use of Valuable Raw Materials
Image credit - National Museums Scotland
Over 15 raw materials are required to manufacture a new smartphone. Natural materials like gold, silver, aluminum, copper, cobalt, and chrome are used to manufacture a new phone. The extraction of these minerals is essential for the production of new smartphones.
As per 911Metallurgist, on average, 75 pounds of mined ore is required for the raw materials of an iPhone.
Mining for such raw materials impacts the environment; even the conditions humans have to mine these raw materials are horrendous and dangerous.
Even after all this, the mobile phones usually end up in landfills without having a chance to be recycled or sold to other users as refurbished mobiles.
So the best thing you can do to save and stop this is by using your existing smartphones as long as you can and buying a refurbished one when you need to buy a device. The fall in the purchase of new smartphones will help reduce your environmental footprint.
To summarise, buying a refurbished phone is an excellent way to save money and improve the environment. It is an easy and effective way of reducing the environmental footprint of our smartphone devices in terms of carbon emission, e-waste, water, and minerals.