Mar 10th 2023
A tap here and a swipe there. Done. Let’s check off your grocery list, utility bills, social calendar, and the donations you promised your favorite charity. That’s the ease and convenience of using a smartphone today.
However, how often do we think about the larger than life impact of using these ultra-smart devices on the environment? With the number of phones outnumbering human beings on earth, are you ever curious to know how ‘green’ your device really is?
The Modern Smartphone & Our Fragile Environment
The first smartphone was developed in 1992. As tech circles rejoiced over this marvelous feet, environmentalists began a countdown. Between 1990 to 2021, greenhouse gas emissions increased by 50%, with carbon dioxide contributing 80% to the total. Coincidence, you say? Read on...
Research suggests that a new smartphone emits 85kgs of carbon in its first year. Various studies indicate that within this pie, 95% comes from the manufacturing process alone. Therefore, producing a smartphone is an emission intensive process; and hence, the root cause of the environmental impact.
Tonnes of carbon is released into the atmosphere during the molding, filtering and mining of the various metals used during manufacturing. Let’s break this down and identify the most prominent factors.
So, What Are You Going To Do About The Environmental Impact Of Your Smartphone?
By 2040, the Information and Communication Industry could potentially be responsible for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. In 2007, the same stat was a mere 1%.
Many smartphones are only used for up to two years before they are discarded. That’s an awfully short lifespan to justify the emission of gasses that will hang around the atmosphere for at least 300 years.
Thankfully, trends have started to change. According to Mobile Muster, 30% of Australians are now using their favorite iPhones or Samsung phones for more than 2 years. And more than 20% have invested in refurbished upgrades.
How can we further improve this trend, you ask? Well, using smartphones is a necessity; so is upgrading them. However, advocating for lengthening their lifespan and refurbishing them where possible can help reduce their carbon footprint.As you scroll to this last paragraph on your smartphone (thumbs up if it’s refurbished!), let’s make a pact to atone for this device’s environmental impact by taking simple steps like:
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