Green Phones for 2024 and Why Sustainability Matters

We are all trying to find ways to be more environmentally friendly, and one major way you can be greener is in the palm of your hand – your mobile phone.  The technology industry has long been associated with generating substantial electronic waste, e-waste as it is called, but smartphone brands are now actively striving to mitigate this impact. From the shipping and packaging of devices to the actual production process, there are numerous ways in which your choice of mobile device can contribute to sustainability efforts.

Likewise, businesses are concerned with this e-waste and recognizing that sustainability is a non-negotiable aspect of corporate responsibility. Companies embracing environmentally friendly practices which is not only is beneficial for the planet but also essential for long-term business success.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the equipment manufacturers to see what strides have been made around sustainability. The sheer volume of electronic devices produced and discarded annually is something collectively we are all concerned about.

Apple                                                                                                                                                                                      Apple has committed to making its entire supply chain and product lifecycle carbon neutral by 2030 and aims to use 100% recycled or renewable materials in its products. They have taken significant steps to reduce the environmental impact of its products, particularly evident in the packaging and production of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Their packaging is now 99% fiber-based, a substantial move towards eliminating plastic from packaging materials.

Several years ago, Apple’s removal of the headphone jack may have been annoying to some users, but served a greater environmental purpose by allowing a more compact and space efficient design, therefore reducing the overall size and weight of the device. It also helped improve the device’s resistance to water, and as we all know water is detrimental to these devices so removing the headphone jack reduced the number of repairs and replacements. Other manufacturers have adopted this trend towards removing the headphone jack in various product lines.

Samsung                                                                                                                                                                      Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series marks a significant advancement in sustainable practices within the smartphone industry. Notably, the Galaxy S24, S24+, and S24 Ultra incorporate recycled cobalt and rare earth elements into their construction. With a minimum of 50% recycled cobalt in their batteries and 100% recycled rare earth elements in their speakers, Samsung is setting a new standard for eco-friendly smartphone manufacturing.

Looking ahead, Samsung aims to integrate recycled materials into every module of its mobile products by 2030, further solidifying its dedication to sustainability.

Google                                                                                                                                                                                  Google has joined the sustainability movement by announcing its commitment to the “Right to Repair” initiative at CES 2024. This pledge ensures that damaged devices can be repaired by anyone without facing overly complex processes to access replacement parts.

By supporting easier repairs, Google aims to extend the lifespan of devices and reduce the number of phones ending up in landfills.

Motorola                                                                                                                                                                          Motorola has also ditched the headphone jack in many of their devices and designs their products with the environment in mind. Motorola uses an ‘Eco Rating’ evaluation to assess each device’s different environmental and material efficiency and is heavily focused on reuse and responsible recycling. Many Motorola’s mobile devices are made from 100% recycled alloy and Motorola accessories are made with 100% recycled plastic.

A Sustainable Approach                                                                                                                                                        The strides made by smartphone giants mentioned above towards sustainability in the mobile industry are commendable. From eco-friendly packaging to incorporating recycled materials into device components, these companies are demonstrating a commitment to reducing electronic waste and minimizing their environmental footprint.

How does your company handle your e-waste? Does your organization have an organized process to reuse and repair devices or do users just get a new device ordered because it is easier? Are you able to recover back all used devices that were upgraded or do some devices never get returned? Do you have sustainability metrics with smartphones and tablets to know the contribution of your recycling efforts and the overall impact on the environment?

OVATION Wireless has over two decades assisting clients with complex wireless mobility challenges including dealing with e-waste, reclaiming more devices back from the field, properly recycling IT assets, providing sustainability metrics and more. Contact us today for help with your company’s recycle program.