Which Smartphones Are Environmentally Friendly

Did you know the mass production of mobile phones has exacerbated a massive environmental crisis? It’s one of the major contributors to water pollution and deforestation, among other issues.

The pocket-sized devices that fit in the palm of our hands may seem small, but they leave behind a trail of environmental pollution and a massive carbon footprint. So, if you’re looking for information on environmentally friendly smartphones, let the team here at OzMobiles help.

Our team has put together a guide to the most environmentally friendly smartphones, which brands are the most eco-friendly, and the impact of the mobile phone industry. If you’re looking to do your part in going green, you should consider purchasing one of our refurbished phones.

The Environmental Impact of the Mobile Phone Industry

The mobile phone industry leaves a massive environmental impact, from the harvesting process for materials to the creation, and also the e-waste they leave behind

80% of the carbon footprint that a mobile phone leaves behind is attributed to the production process. The mobile phone industry is one of the most resource-intensive, as it requires countless precious metals, including platinum, copper, tin, tungsten, gold, aluminium, silver, and other materials.

The mining alone to get these metals leaves a devastating impact on the environment. Massive amounts of fuel are used to extract the metals and also transport them for phone production. It’s predicted that these materials will also be in short supply in the coming decades.

The remainder of the carbon footprint is split between 16% for using the phone and the last 4% for transporting it from the supplier to the consumer.

The upgrade and throwaway culture of smartphones is also extremely detrimental to the environment. Recent statistics show that only 20% of smartphones are properly recycled in Australia.

There are about 20.30 million smartphone users in Australia right now. If every smartphone user in Australia were to upgrade their phone, that’s over 15 million smartphones being incorrectly discarded, damaging the environment and significantly contributing to electronic waste.

Manufacturing a new phone requires more material and energy than if companies were to recycle parts from an old smartphone. So, next time you’re looking to upgrade your phone—like to the latest Samsung Galaxy, make sure to recycle your previous phone properly. 

What Smartphone Brands Are The Most Environmentally Friendly

An iPhone resting on a tree with moss growing up the side.

As we continue to use up our planet’s finite resources, it becomes more important to consider shopping with brands that are sustainable and environmentally conscious. 

Before discussing which smartphone brands are the best for this, here are the factors we believe make a brand environmentally friendly

  1. The impact of the company/brand’s manufacturing process on the environment.
  2. How long the brand supports their smartphone with updates and patches.
  3. It needs to be easily replaced or repaired.
  4. Made from recyclable materials—this includes the packaging it comes in.
  5. It needs to be designed to last longer than a few years.
  6. Low radiation emission.

Whilst Apple hasn’t always been the best when it comes to its reputation for environmentally friendly phones, the company has improved drastically in recent years. Their phones are now made from aluminium, which can be recycled.

iPhones are also free from potentially harmful chemicals, such as Brominated flame retardants and Polyvinyl chloride. Apple also takes extra precautions to avoid including conflict materials in its supply chain.

Google and its Pixel line of phones are also great if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly smartphone brand. At OzMobiles, we also stock a range of refurbished Google products.

For example, the Google Pixel 8 promises to have 7 years of Android security updates and support until 2030. This is almost double the typical amount of support time a smartphone gets.

The Google Pixel 8 comes in completely 100% plastic-free boxes, and the phone is made from 18% recycled materials. Google has also drastically reduced the lifetime carbon emissions for the Pixel 8 compared to previous models.

Sony has also been doing an incredible job with their smartphone brand—Xperia. The company has been making a huge push to reduce its phone's environmental footprint by using recycled materials as part of a company-wide initiative for a greener Earth.

Why Refurbished Phones Are Better For The Environment

The production and manufacturing of a phone is one of the most polluting stages in a phone’s life cycle. That’s why opting for a refurbished device avoids the extraction of raw materials, reduces harmful emissions, and results in less electronic waste.

Statistics from Greenly report that even extending the life of a phone for two more years through refurbishing or other means can improve the environmental balance by 50%. Not only is buying a refurbished phone better for the environment, it’s also better for the consumer.

Typically, refurbished phones are cheaper than their newer counterparts, allowing you to save money. Refurbished devices can sometimes be up to 80% cheaper than purchasing a brand-new model.

If you’re worried about purchasing a refurbished phone in fear of being scammed, let our team reassure you. All the refurbished phones here at OzMobiles are properly reset, cleaned, tested, and repaired. We also offer a warranty and guarantee when you shop with us.

The Most Eco-Friendly Phones

If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly and sustainable phones, we have you covered. Here’s our list of the best ‘green’ phones of 2024.

iPhone 14 Pro

In the past few years, Apple has been committed to its initiative for a greener earth, and this rings true in the iPhone 14 Pro. It’s the self-proclaimed ‘greenest’ model yet.

The iPhone 14 Pro’s cameras are made with 100% recycled gold for the wiring and 100% recycled rare earth materials for its magnets. It’s also reported that Apple has drastically reduced the energy consumption of the phone compared to previous iterations by 54%.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Series

Not only is the Samsung Galaxy S22 series amazing with its specs, but the design is also extremely eco-conscious. The phones contain 20% recycled ocean-bound plastic sourced from discarded fishing nets.

The mobile phone's packaging is also sustainable. Samsung has said it uses 100% recycled paper for the phone series packaging and the protective film is made entirely from recycled plastic. 

Fairphone 4

It’s still an up-and-coming brand, but the Fairphone was designed with sustainability in mind. The phone is made with recycled materials and is easily recycled. For every Fairphone that sells, the company recycles the equivalent of electronic waste.

Google Pixel 8

Google’s aim with the new Pixel phone was to address the environmental impact of their phone manufacturing. From the production to supply chains, they focused on drastically reducing their impact.

The Google Pixel 8 is made from biodegradable materials, completely PVC-free, and in 100% plastic-free packaging. The phone is also created from recycled aluminium to reduce its carbon footprint.

Buy Environmentally Friendly Refurbished Phones at OzMobiles

A hand holding a white smartphone with the camera app open pointed at a yellow mushroom growing on the forest floor.

If you’re looking to swap to an environmentally friendly phone option, think OzMobiles. Our range of refurbished phones drastically lessens the impact the mobile phone industry has on our environment and electronic waste.

If you have any questions regarding our sustainability, environmentally friendly practices or phones, feel free to contact us. Our team is happy to answer any of your queries.

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