Too many mobiles?

Consumers say mobile phone manufacturers are releasing too many new models

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

Home » Too many mobiles?

Published: 31 August 2016

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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According to the results of a survey by Greenpeace East Asia, we believe mobile phone manufacturers release too many new models – and nearly half of us think manufacturers should be responsible for recycling mobiles.

In all six of the countries surveyed, most respondents said mobile phone manufacturers should be responsible for providing people with the means to recycle their phones, while 4 in 5 surveyed said that it was important that a new smartphone can be easily repaired if damaged.

An environmental strain

Mobile phones are some of the most frequently replaced of all small electronics products.

A United Nations University report in 2014 showed that up to 3 million metric tonnes of e-waste is generated from small IT products such as mobile phones and personal computers.

This represents a massive waste of resources and a source of contamination from hazardous chemicals.

‘The humble smartphone puts enormous strain on our environment from the moment it’s produced – often with hazardous chemicals – to the moment it’s disposed of in huge e-waste sites.’

CHIH AN LEE
Global IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia

Key findings

Chinese (66%) and South Korean respondents (64%) are more likely to have ever had their phones repaired, compared with 28% in the US and just 23% in Germany.

Nearly half surveyed believe that mobile phone manufacturers should be responsible for making recycling accessible. This sentiment was strongest in Germany (61%).

‘Over half of respondents across the countries surveyed agree that manufacturers are releasing too many new models, many designed to only last a few years. In fact, most users actually want their phones to be more easily dismantled, repaired and recycled.’

CHIH AN LEE
Global IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia

Except in Germany (86%), over 90% of respondents surveyed in all countries said that ‘designed to last’ is an important feature of a new smartphone.

4 in 5 respondents consider it important that a new smartphone is not produced using hazardous chemicals.

4 in 5 respondents believe it is important for a new smartphone to be easily repaired if damaged.This rises to as high as 95% in China, 94% in Mexico and 92% in South Korea.

Apart from respondents in South Korea, the most common reason for replacing their last phone was the desire for a more up-to-date device.

‘We believe true innovation means gadgets designed to last, to be repaired and recycled. It is time for tech leaders to rethink the way they make our electronics so that they are as innovative for our planet as they are for our lives.

‘If tech brands want to lead us into the future, they need to move towards closed-loop production and embrace the circular economy; something that can be good for their profits, for people and for the planet.’

CHIH AN LEE
Global IT Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia

Greenpeace East Asia conducted the survey as part of its True Innovation campaign, which challenges the technology sector to embrace innovation to protect our environment and our future.

Click here to find out more about the True Innovation campaign.

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