Smartphones And Their Environmental Impact

It’s World Health Day and we’re thinking about ways we can help to nurture our world. There are loads of decisions we make daily, either personally or as a society, that have a positive impact on our environment - but we can always do more! In an ideal world everyone would be driving electric vehicles, recycling their household goods and limiting their consumption of meats and dairy products. But there's probably one thing you haven't considered changing…

Do you know the environmental impact of your mobile?

By the end of 2022, it’s estimated there’ll be over 6.5 billion smartphone users globally. This number is expected to grow massively over the next few years with statistics suggesting less than 70% of the people in some of the most populated countries in the world, including China and India, had devices.

Samsung and Apple lead the market, accounting for roughly 50% of sales globally. But with the price of smartphones steadily growing, unit sales have started to slow - with some models such as the Samsung Galaxy Fold retailing at around £1,500.

We have an obsession with the latest tech

“In most cases phones are replaced when they are still working fine…”
Tamar Mahov, Yale University Researcher

We have an obsession with the latest tech, features and brands. Most phones have an average lifespan of 2 years, this is mostly driven by contracts and upgrade options. We change up to newer models without needing to, and this has a huge environmental impact – let’s look at a few ways the tech industry contributes to the degradation of our environment:

Manufacturing

During the manufacturing process dozens of resources are used to make our devices. We extract minerals from our planet, such as: Iron, Aluminium, Magnesium, Copper, Silver, Gold, Graphite, Silicon, Lead, Tin and Lithium. Some of the resources used in manufacturing occur in very small amounts, so the effort and cost to access them is huge. 

This extraction causes irreparable damage to environments and ecosystems globally, in fact the tech industry is one of the leading contributors to the destruction of the amazon rainforest. With this in mind, Doji has partnered with One Tribe - so every time you buy a phone through our site, you directly contribute to the preservation of rainforests and habitats around the world.

All of these resources need to be mined, refined and transported all over the world. It’s estimated that 80-90% of a device’s carbon footprint is created before it even reaches you. Depending on the model, a smartphone can create 40-80kg of CO2 emissions per device. That’s not all though, there are many other harmful chemicals emitted, which all pollute our planet and damage its citizens' health.

Disposal

Smartphone being dismantled and components removed

It’s estimated that under 15% of old devices are recycled in developed markets. This means there’s a load of old tech left sitting in drawers around our country, or slowly degrading in landfill where they release toxic elements into our environment.

There are lots of phone recycling schemes around, but unfortunately this extraction of components is costly and often inefficient. It’s estimated under 30% of the components can actually be recycled, due to their size and the way they’ve been used in the device.

What else can I do?

This is where we come in. Doji aims to create a circular economy, where users can upgrade to a high quality device and find a new owner for their old phone. If the phone has the potential for another 3 years of life, why not let it carry on living with somebody who’s going to love it. Save the planet and your money.

Buy high quality used tech on Doji