We can’t keep making and tossing phones at the current rate:
- The production of smartphones produces carbon pollution equivalent to the Philippines, a country with a population of 100 million people. Roughly 90% of the total climate pollution from phones comes from their production and distribution.
- Smartphones contribute to 10% of global e-waste. Roughly 80% of this waste is burnt or dumped in landfills.
Buying refurbished or used phones protects the environment:
- Buying refurbished cuts the environmental impact of buying a device by between 77% and 91%.
- The average customer buys a new phone every two-and-a-half years, even while 80% of these phones are still working.
- If we held on to our phones one year longer on average, the emissions reductions would be equivalent to taking 636,000 cars off the road and would reduce manufacturing material demand by 42.5 million pounds per day — which would be like cutting a jumbo-jet’s weight in raw material use every 17 minutes.
More customers are opting for refurbished phones
- Refurbished smartphone shipments grew 15% last year, while new smartphone sales rose only 4.5%.
|New smartphone impact||Refurbished smartphone impact||Damage avoided|
|CO2 emitted||56 kg||11 kg||45 kg saved on average|
|Raw materials used||44 kg||4-10 kg||34-40 kg saved|
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Fixed for the Holidays
Director, Designed to Last Campaign, U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Lucas leads PIRG’s Designed to Last campaign, fighting against planned obsolescence and e-waste and winning concrete policy changes that extend electronic consumer product lifespans, hold manufacturers accountable for forcing upgrades or disposal, and advance paradigm-busting conversations around electronic products. He got his start as a PIRG student volunteer and organizing director where he helped register thousands of voters and win zero waste campaigns to stop plastic pollution. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his partner, where he enjoys perfecting his espresso recipe.
Senior Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Nathan leads U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign, working to pass legislation that will prevent companies from blocking consumers’ ability to fix their own electronics. Nathan lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.