The answer is simple if you have ever wondered why there is so much discussion around e-waste: Environmental protection. All the e-waste in landfills releases toxic chemicals into the air that damage the atmosphere. It can also poison the soil around the landfill.
Mobile phones are electronic devices that people often use and tend to replace as new ones are introduced in the phone market. The decision to buy a used phone is wise not only because of its financial benefits but also because of its environment. The used phone market is one of the most lucrative and beneficial businesses in helping the environment.
How Buying a Used Phone Helps the Environment
Below, we've shared six reasons why buying a used phone is better for the environment. So, let's dive right in.
1. Used Phones Don’t Require New Resources
Every manufactured product is responsible for a certain amount of environmental damage. The growing and harvesting of crops, mining of metals, and fossil fuel burning required to power factories all have a negative impact.
The process of mining for minerals used in phones, including copper, gold, and coltan, is devastating to the environment. It involves clearing forests, sometimes illegally, and leaves behind toxic waste that can seep into groundwater.
The used phone you buy has already been through its most water-intensive phase: manufacturing. A single new smartphone requires approximately 240 gallons of water to manufacture.
Buying already-used phones can save natural resources usually used in manufacturing new ones. When you buy used, you're not responsible for that damage because the product has already been made.
2. Used Phones Don’t Generate Pollution
The growing e-waste problem is one of the most pressing environmental issues today. Mining for minerals used in phones, including copper, gold, and coltan, is devastating to the environment. It involves clearing forests, sometimes illegally, and leaves behind toxic waste that can seep into groundwater.
By buying used phones, you are not supporting this destruction of the environment. The farming, harvesting, and manufacturing process of a new phone pumps a lot of pollution into the environment – including toxic chemicals, pesticides, and carbon emissions.
Every year, millions of tons of electronic waste are produced, and a large portion of that waste ends up in incinerators or landfill sites, releasing harmful toxins into the air and water. Buying used phones helps reduce your carbon footprint by keeping them out of landfills. It also reduces the amount of toxic waste in the environment.
3. Used Phones Don’t Require Energy to Create
It takes a lot of energy to power the machines to create new products. That electricity often comes from coal-fired power plants, which is a leading cause of air pollution and climate change.
Creating a single new smartphone requires the equivalent of 350-500 pounds of coal. Buying used phones reduces this energy consumption and lowers the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the environment.
4. Used Phones Don’t Have Packaging
The used phone you buy will not come with any packaging, meaning there will be no packaging materials to dispose of. Packaging is a significant source of pollution. All that plastic packaging materials and Styrofoam used to ship and protect new phones takes hundreds of years to decompose in landfills and often pollutes the environment before it ever has a chance to break down.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 54 million metric tons of electronic waste were generated in 2019, with only two million tons being recycled. This global e-waste generation has increased to about 59.4 million metric tons in 2022. The used phone market cuts down on the excessive packaging used for new phones and reduces the waste sent to landfills.
5. Used Phones Don’t Require Transportation
The shipping of new products creates a significant amount of pollution, from the fuel used by ships and planes to the packaging materials used to protect the products during transport.
When people buy used phones, this creates less demand for shipping phones. The packaging and shipping of defective phones create significant pollution by transporting these products. By buying used phones, you are reducing the pollution caused by the transportation of new phones.
6. Used Phones Can Help Combat Climate Change
Many of the materials used in phones, including plastics, metals, and chemicals used in manufacturing, can be toxic to humans and the environment. These toxins can end up in the air, water, and soil, where they can cause health problems for both people and wildlife.
Climate change is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time, and used phones can play a role in helping to fight it. By purchasing used phones instead of brand-new ones, you are helping to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
Every used phone you buy keeps a new phone from being manufactured and helps lower the emissions created by its production. Buying used phones can save natural resources and energy and help reduce air pollution and e-waste. By investing in used phones, you are helping to reduce the environmental impact and combat climate change.
Buying used phones is a great way to help reduce pollution and combat climate change. It's easy to make a positive environmental impact by reducing the number of new phones produced, shipping emissions, and packaging used for new products.
Used phones can also help save natural resources and energy that would otherwise be used to produce new devices. It's much easier to repair a used phone than it is to buy a new one. A used phone can be upgraded with a new battery or other parts, reducing the number of e-waste consumers create.
By buying used phones and extending their lifecycle, you're helping to reduce the amount of energy used in production and waste sent to landfills. When you buy used phones, you're not only saving money but also helping to reduce the environmental impact of phone production. By keeping phones out of landfills and reducing the demand for new phones, you can help make a difference in the fight against climate change.