How to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Smartphones

People use their smartphones every day, but how often have you thought about how your phone expands your carbon footprint? The smartphone industry affects the planet more than many people realize. Read more here about how to reduce the environmental impacts of smartphones to make your next purchase with the earth in mind.

1. Develop More Efficient Batteries

Consumers don’t have much control over cellphone production, but they can advocate for more efficient batteries. Phones need electricity, and their battery determines how well they use it. If you have to charge your phone most of the day just to keep the battery above half full, it’s making your environmental footprint larger than necessary.

Batteries that use less energy to power a smartphone for the same amount of time will require less electricity in the long run. Advances in battery technology and engineering make this more of a possibility with each passing year.

2. Update Manufacturing Facilities

Production plants create enormous pollution in various ways. Smartphone manufacturing facilities specifically increase their energy usage by regulating the indoor temperature and humidity to maintain integrated circuits.

This type of monitoring consumes 30% of a facility’s electricity, so an energy or waste audit will identify problems like these and pinpoint the most effective sustainable solutions. Smaller plants will also have less space to keep at the right temperature.

3. Encourage Recycling Old Phones

Getting a new phone is exciting, but it can hurt the environment. In 2019, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste ended up in landfills.

Discarded smartphones are part of that type of garbage. They aren’t biodegradable, so they break down into chemicals that add airborne pollutants to weather systems that circulate back into nearby towns.

It’s best to recycle your smartphone when you need an upgrade. Look for recycling programs in your town or talk with your phone provider about any of their potentially partnered programs. They will convert your phone into reusable materials or even seek repairs to give it to someone in need.

4. Make New Models Less Often

New smartphones come out every year, encouraging consumers to upgrade their current model whether or not it’s malfunctioning. However, the new one may only change the camera quality or screen size. Remember that every consumer purchase results in more smartphones in landfills, essentially replicating global fast-fashion waste that destroys the environment.

If smartphone brands created new models less often, consumers would keep their phones longer. It would also revitalize the phone repair and spare parts industry, resulting in an environmental and economical solution.

5. Utilize Recycled Materials

Many companies use new materials to make each smartphone, but they don’t have to. Recycled materials for metals and glass can come from donated phones from consumers who want to upgrade. Manufacturing facilities can also seek recycled magnets from other technology instead of mining for natural resources.

6. Reassess Microchip Production

Microchips are the part of smartphones that save your data. Sand is their main production ingredient, so sand mining is a lucrative business. Unfortunately, it also removes the natural resource from the environment faster than nature can replace it.

China used more sand in a single year than the U.S. did during the entire 20th century because it’s an essential ingredient for modern technology like microchips. That amount will likely only increase as more people depend on new technologies. If production companies reassessed their microchip manufacturing and eliminated steps that require limited resources, the planet would be better off even if more people buy smartphones.

Reduce the Environmental Impact of Smartphones

There are many ways that smartphones hurt the planet, but anyone can learn how to reduce the environmental impact of smartphones by studying steps like these. If consumers demand better from their preferred brands – and corporations listen – everyone can build a greener future without using less technology.