You only need to take a look at the mobile phones of four or five years ago to see how quickly the technology is progressing: our phones are becoming faster, slimmer (albeit bigger) and more capable, but they’re also becoming more eco-friendly too. It’s not just the production processes and materials that account for this, but schemes such as phone recycling that reduce the waste created by our discarded handsets. So where do you look if you want to get an eco-friendly phone?
All of the major manufacturers are now making concerted efforts to minimise the impact their devices and production processes have on the environment. When these practices are combined with hardware and phone recycling services, we’re on the right track when it comes to making our precious mobile phones as eco-friendly as possible. That said, we mustn’t neglect our own responsibilities when it comes to protecting the environment.
Apple devotes several pages of its website to explaining its environmental protection policies, which cover everything from the emissions from manufacturing to the renewable energy powering its data centres. The latest iPhones are built with arsenic-free display glass, a mercury-free LED-backlit display and a recyclable aluminium enclosure. Its phones are also free from PVC and come with chargers that follow the strictest global energy efficiency standards.
Like Apple, Samsung has a detailed environmental policy and is committed to making its workplaces, products and manufacturing processes as green as possible. The company’s S4 phone has received a sustainability certification from TCO Development, meaning that its production processes, internal materials and recharging efficiency are all meeting high standards in terms of their impact on the environment.
Nokia promises that each and every one of its devices is built with the environment in mind. All of the handsets it releases must meet strict environmental criteria: the materials used, the packaging associated with them and their energy efficiency. The Nokia Lumia 1520 phone, for example, uses recycled plastics in its cover and is free from several common and harmful materials.
As with the other companies mentioned here, LG Electronics is committed to a stringent set of guidelines that cover all aspects of a phone’s production, from manufacturing to recharging. Hazardous substances and materials are kept to a minimum, while energy efficiency and recyclability are maximised. Other companies in the field, including HTC and Sony, also have similar policies.
All of the companies we’ve mentioned also have extensive renewable energy and hardware recycling commitments — if you head to any company website you should find details of how to recycle or trade in your hardware. There are many other third-party services you can take advantage of too, such as phone recycling from Virgin Media and other companies. There’s simply no excuse for not disposing of your phone properly.
It seems that our desire for the latest and greatest mobile phones is showing no sign of diminishing. With this in mind, it’s vital that these devices are produced and disposed of in a way that’s kind to the environment around us — fortunately, the major manufacturers are taking note and taking their responsibilities seriously.
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