Is it possible to make smartphones that are more environmentally friendly?

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It goes without saying that cellphones have made our lives easier, whether via instant texting or Google searches. However, despite their compact size, these formidable devices have one of the largest The worldwide tech industry’s carbon footprints, especially when it comes to the production process.

Moreover, cellphones are seen as even more unsustainable since the typical user changes them every two years without recycling their old device, wasting priceless resources while producing more. When you consider that around 3.8 billion individuals possess a phone, you have a problem on your hands. Is there, however, a method to make smartphone production more environmentally friendly?

The concept of a “modular phone.”

Modular phone

A modular smartphone is one that is made up of elements that can be swapped out or updated individually. This saves money on repairs and avoids electronic waste by simply discarding a portion of the phone rather than the whole device. There have been a few initiatives, like as Google’s Project Ara in 2016, to bring the notion to the general public. Nevertheless, owing to various disadvantages at the time, such as people preferring the whole smartphone package instead, it failed to pique public interest.

Well, here’s aA new generation of modular cellphones has been released By making phones more accessible and easy, is aiming for the common customer. A modular phone like Teracube is one example. Replaceable batteries, a biodegradable casing, and a four-year guarantee are included.

Life expectancy

The battery life of a phone has less to do with its longevity and more to do with how manufacturers plan for obsolescence when developing them. Consumers are forced to update and replace phones sooner than they should be due to the phones’ purposefully poor durability, degrading batteries, and outward appearance.

What most people are unaware of is that extending the life of a phone by only one to four years can reduce its environmental effect by up to 40%.

Sadly, by utilizing tamper-resistant fasteners and strong adhesives, many manufacturers actively prohibit consumers from replacing internal components in their phones. But, there are exceptionsthey’re Right-to-repair law is supported by firms like iFixit, as well as manufacturers like NTT Docomo, whose sturdy Touch Wood smartphone istotally made of reclaimed cedar wood. Meanwhile, Greenpeace publishes an annual Guide to Greener Electronics, in which they evaluate the usage of energy, materials, and chemicals in different phone models in order to educate customers.

Material source that is ethical

Smartphone  parts

The speakers and microphones are built of iron, the CPU is composed of silicon, the electronic circuits are made of copper, silver, and gold, and the batteries are made of graphite and lithium. Because minerals are limited and non-renewable, they must be exploited wisely. There have been for phone batteries, thankfully, and they are no longer as irreplaceable as they once were. Samsung’s ‘graphene balls,’ for example, may boost the current capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 45%. We’ve also written about NTT Docomo before

Of course, there should be an attempt to gather content in an ethical manner. To promote responsible mining, the Dodd-Frank Act was enacted in the United States to force firms to record their usage of tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold from different nations.

Let me introduce you to the Fairphone

The excellent news is that there is now a smartphone model that aims to be environmentally friendly in every manner. The was created by Fairphone, an Amsterdam-based corporationThe most ethical and repairable phone on the market It is possible to purchase. The Fairphone 3 is a five-year-old modular phone that is simple to repair, maintain, and update. It is the only smartphone that has received a passing grade from Ethical Consumer to far.

The sole disadvantage is that it is slower than the current smartphone models due to its usage of recycled components. Manufacturers, on the other hand, were able to satisfy design criteriausing a unique PCB layout. Pogo pin connectors are no longer used with smaller board-to-board connectors, according to Fairphone’s producers. It is possible to keep the board functioning while using less gold and taking up less space by properly positioning PCB components.

Almost half of theThe vibration motor is made of tungsten is also recycled, yet it retains its tenacity. Moreover, the polycarbonate utilized for the rear covers and modules is 50% recycled, which makes it extremely thick and cumbersome. But, since they are more durable, they are even more environmentally beneficial and are less likely to be thrown away due to damage.

The Fairphone is a significant step forward in terms of sustainably sourcing materials and extending the life of smartphones, and we can expect many other manufacturers to follow in their footsteps.

Contributed by a member of the community

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