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Mobile expert warns of environmental impact from business technology churn

With there being a large focus on reversing the damage we’ve had on the planet and slowing down the effects of climate change recently, it is important to understand the repercussions that the technology industry is having on the world around us. Whilst this may feel like a “consumer problem” this is in fact an issue that businesses and in-house IT teams should be aware and conscious of. 

Many businesses spend thousands in equipping their employees with the latest technology – even more so with the boom in remote working during the pandemic – which can include company mobile phones, tablets and laptops. 

But is a brand new mobile phone really necessary for IT teams and employees when there are almost 15 million mobile devices worldwide and the constant production of new devices doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon?!

Paul Walsh, mobile expert at – specialists in refurbished technology – is calling on businesses to consider the environmental impacts of purchasing new tech for their teams and urges them to consider refurbished technology and second-hand handsets moving forward. 

“The constant production to keep up with consumer demand for regular new phones is taking a toll on the environment, and it’s something more businesses need to be aware of. The societal focus on reducing environmental damage is arguably greater than ever right now. But mass technology consumption is playing a bigger part than you might realise.”

One of the main reasons why technology consumption is playing a major part in climate change is the constant transportation of parts to make up new mobile devices. Typically chips and other parts of the devices are shipped via air which as we know is extremely damaging to the planet due to the emissions produced during air travel. 

Paul explains: “The air miles accumulated from importing and manufacturing all of the phone parts stack up, and this is all before the phones have to be shipped around the world to the waiting arms of customers. As well as the cost savings of buying a refurbished or second-hand phone, there are also huge positive environmental impacts you could be making too. People are starting to learn about the environmental impact that the increase in new gadgets and phones being manufactured and sold every year are having. With each phone being so small in size, it’s hard to comprehend straight away, but when people are taking a moment to think about just how many phones there are in the global population, they quickly understand the scale of the problem manufacturing these devices are contributing to. Choosing refurbished means that there is no additional contribution to the number of phones being produced, as well as reducing the demand.”

The usage of landfills around the world is continuously growing and the consumer and business technology industry is contributing to this. Another benefit refurbished mobile phones have on the environment is their ability to slow down the mobile product lifestyle which means that the speed of tech being disposed of and sent to landfills is slowed down. 

Paul explains: “Choosing to buy refurbished phones for your business, or simply not opting for a new one so often, extends the product life cycle of the phone. An extended product life cycle means that the rate of phones entering landfills is reduced. Landfill usage is a huge problem in today’s world and will only continue to get worse with today’s consumerism. Finding more sustainable ways of living and consumption, and decreasing waste ending up in landfills, will all be key to reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact as humans. We are not saying to stop using mobile phones, merely extend their life by considering a refurbished or second-hand model. A decreased demand for new phones means the volume of raw materials used in phone production is reduced as well as the energy used to produce and churn out new handsets.”

Why businesses should opt for refurbished tech

There are many misconceptions associated with refurbished tech, mainly the idea that it is not as reliable as brand new devices. Refurbished tech goes through thorough checks and tests and anything that isn’t working at the highest standards, is replaced. 

The obvious advantage that businesses should consider by opting for refurbished tech is the significantly lower price, which would give businesses the opportunity to use the savings made in other areas of the company, on average £126 can be saved per handset in the UK

The most important advantage is the damage being reduced on the environment which is what businesses should be considering if they want to play their part in helping the planet and their wider CSR initiatives.