A briefing by the European Union states that the useful lifespan of a smartphone should be longer. The report highlights problems with smartphones and notebook computers.
In September, the European Environmental Bureau, the European Union’s environmental network, published the briefing ‘Coolproducts don’t cost the earth’. The document was written by Francisco Zuloaga, Mauro Anastasio and Stéphane Arditi, all three researchers at the EEB. The aim of the briefing is to provide answers to:
- How do electronics contribute to global warming throughout their manufacturing stages?
- How long should electronics last to be environmentally responsible?
The brief points at several outcomes:
- The manufacture of new smartphones has the greatest environmental impact, larger even than washing machines, vacuum cleaners or notebook computers.
- The production, distribution and disposal of smartphones represent 72% of the environmental impact of all electronics.
- Increasing the useful lifespan of a smartphone, washing machine or notebook computer would reduce the environmental impact equivalent to taking 2 million cars of the roads in a year.
- To offset the environmental impact of smartphones they should last between 25 and 232 years.
- The brief highlights that the manufacturing, distribution and disposal of smartphones accounts for between 51% and 92% of the impact on global warming.
- The non-use phase of notebook has a huge impact on the environment, contributing 12.82 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
An interesting fact seen in the report is that 77% of European citizens would prefer to repair their electronics rather than buying a new one. Often, citizens try repairing their devices but when they discover the price of the repair they choose to buy a new one.