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Even before being sold, your smartphone already pollutes too much

© Yura Fresh – Unsplash

The worst pollution is not use, but manufacturing. It is in this sentence that we could summarize the latest report from Arcep on the environmental footprint of technological products. The government agency estimates that 75% of the pollution generated in the entire life of a device like a smartphone comes from its sole production.

If this figure can make you dizzy, it shows that the manufacturing of devices is much more polluting than their everyday use. In its report, Arcep estimates that 81% of French pollutionlinked to new technologies comes from “terminals” (smartphones, tablets and connected objects). The often singled out computer network with its immense data centers only represents 5% of this pollution.

Pollution at the source

Always according to the Arcep report “For sustainable digital”, the only production of a smartphone would represent 75% of its overall emissions. This is roughly the same proportion for computers and television sets, but at much higher levels.

Faced with this problem of “original pollution” consumer associations as well as Arcep all give the same advice. You must succeed in making the use of an electronic device last as long as possible, thus reducing the number of smartphones you will have in your hand during your life.

A solution, make it last

As for electric cars, which are very polluting to produce, it is long-term use which will “smooth” this “original pollution”. For smartphones, a company already offers this solution, it's Fairphone.

The Dutch manufacturer built its models on a simple principle, giving users the opportunity to repair their device. Thus, the European brand announces that its latest Fairphone 4 could very well operate at full power for 5 to 7 years by changing the battery or the screen once or twice.

The smartphone market must adapt

Repairs which have a price, but which are always less expensive than purchasing a new device. If this initiative has the merit of offering a solution to consumers, it is indeed the only one to do so at the moment. Indeed, the other smartphone manufacturers, Apple in the lead, do not seem to be concerned about the repair and lifespan of the devices.

If the latest iPhones, at the same As Samsung's Galaxy S4 or Google's Pixel 8 are guaranteed for 7 years at the software level, repair costs continue to soar and the slightest change to the battery requires going to the store.< /p>

Produce less to produce better

The other big battle that must occupy smartphone manufacturers in the coming years is the quantity of production. Producing a smartphone is not an activity without consequences for the planet, it should therefore be reduced to the strict minimum to meet a given demand.

With a decline in the latter, a gap is widening between the number of devices produced and the number of smartphones on sale. These unsold stocks are pollution graveyards.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116