E-waste isn’t necessarily a new thing. Electronics have been around for a while, but the introduction of mobile phones has really increased the amount of e-waste. In 2019 alone, the planet produced 54 million tons of e-waste. Now, that doesn’t just include phones...but it’s still a crazy number to even think of. The problem is that we’re always looking for the newest, the best, and the most advanced devices. How many times have you said “Oh I have to replace my phone, it’s two years old.” Two. Years. Old. That’s insanity.
In 2020, 1.56 BILLION new phones were sold. In that same year, it was reported there were 3.3 billion smartphone users. Do you really think half of the smartphone users need BRAND NEW phones? Probably not.
Of course, it’s natural to want new things. Heck, even at some point smartphone manufacturers stop making updates for older models. It’s hard to avoid getting new devices. However, there’s a way you can buy a new phone without contributing to e-waste, and without compromising quality. Can you guess what it is?
Buy a refurbished device! On average, 140,000,000 phones go to landfills every year which can add 80,000lbs of lead back into the earth. That’s...not great. But when you buy a refurbished device, it keeps it out of the landfill for a lot longer and reduces the need to make a brand new device. This helps reduce greenhouse gases, not to mention save energy. According to The Mobile Base, for every 500 phones that get recycled, the energy saved could power a home for an entire year. A YEAR! Purchasing a refurbed device is one simple way you can help tackle e-waste.
Another major way to deal with e-waste is for corporations to look at ways they can recycle old devices, use recycled materials, take non-working products and turn them into new materials, and more. Companies like Apple have already committed to being carbon-neutral by 2030, but there’s still a long way to go before we see a real impact.
Ultimately, e-waste isn’t just going to stop happening. It’s just how the world is moving forward–more tech, more tech, more tech. But being more conscious of when you buy new gadgets, and making an effort to buy refurbished when you can, will help reduce the impact of e-waste on the planet. Pssst...that’s a good thing.