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The environmental impact of mobile phone repair and disposal

Mobile phone repair services

The world has become increasingly dependent on mobile phones, with an estimated 7.7 billion mobile phone users globally. As the use of mobile phones continues to increase, so does the need for mobile phone repair and disposal. In 2021 a whopping 1.43 billion smartphones were sold worldwide. In the last quarter, of 2021 alone, 24% of those sales were dominated by iPhones. To put that into perspective, it was estimated that Apple would generate 17 megatons of CO2 emissions in the year 2022. That is just from the manufacturing part. Mining materials such as cobalt and lithium, components that are essential for mobile phones, also have a detrimental impact on the environment.

From the production of new phones to the repair and disposal of old ones, the lifecycle of mobile phones has a significant impact on the world we live in. They have greatly contributed to waste streams and carbon emissions. Recycling is often touted as the solution to the growing problem of electronic waste. In fact, mobile phone repair instead of recycling is actually a more sustainable and environmentally conscious choice. In this article, we will explore why repairing mobile phones is the way forward and why it is a more environmentally conscious choice than recycling.

Thinking Ahead

Keeping mobile phones in use for longer is a step forward towards reducing waste streams. This would minimize the number of smartphones to be recycled and keep materials in use for a longer time. By using a phone for a longer period, individuals can reduce the demand for new phone production. This would in turn reduce the amount of electronic waste generated. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with over 50 million tons generated every year.

Mobile phone companies would have to play a major role in this change. Usually, companies have a plan in place wherein mobile phones have a life span of about 3 years. After which there is a need to change it. This ensures future sales security. Smartphone companies should increase the life of a mobile phones. So that it be changed every 4 years instead of 3, which could significantly reduce harmful emissions. This represents a 25% lifetime decrease in the number of devices used.

By repairing instead of replacing, individuals can reduce the demand for new phone production and extend the life of their current device. The goal is to keep the materials already being used, in circulation. Putting malfunctioning materials to use in other applications. Additionally, this would reduce the amount of e-waste generated, helping to protect the environment and reduce the risk of hazardous substances contaminating the soil and water.

Mobile Phone Repair – Right to Repair Movement

The infrastructure for smartphone repair is rapidly growing and evolving to meet the increasing demand for mobile phone repair services. The growing popularity of smartphones has led to the development of various repair options, ranging from DIY kits to professional repair services. One of the key components of the smartphone repair infrastructure is the availability of repair parts. Some mobile phone repair companies stock a wide range of repair parts, including screen replacements, battery replacements, and charging ports, allowing them to perform a variety of repairs quickly and efficiently.

This is still easier said than done. The biggest problem that consumers face is the scarcity of parts for mobile phone repair. Due to commercial reasons mobile phone companies are against the right-to-repair policy. This policy is a global movement whereby consumers are given the right to fix/repair their own devices. Making repair extremely affordable, reducing the restrictions put on consumers and expanding their rights after they make a purchase. This would mean that companies have to produce spare parts and make them readily available to the general public. Smartphone manufacturer – Fairphone has popularized repair and upgradeable parts. They try to swap the faulty part and use it in other applications such as ticket scanners. These swapped parts can also be repaired and reused in new/refurbished phones. This would keep all materials in continual circulation.

The growing impact of this policy would break the monopolies of big companies. This would bring in more competition, driving down mobile phone prices. In addition to professional repair services, there are also many DIY repair options available today. Individuals who are looking to repair their smartphones themselves. DIY repair kits often include repair parts and tools, as well as step-by-step instructions for performing the repair.


Mobile phone producers would have to take huge responsibility for this shift towards a sustainable lifestyle. Governments would have to play a supporting role, giving incentives where possible. There are countless online business directories where you could find smartphone repair companies. They are affordable and fulfil modern-day repair requirements. By reducing the demand for new phone production, reducing the amount of e-waste generated, reducing the need for the transportation of new phones, and using environmentally friendly repair methods, a mobile repair can help to reduce the environmental impact of mobile phones and protect the environment for future generations.

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