There seems to be new smartphone models coming out every month. As soon as you get a new one, another new model comes out, with a sleeker physic, new features, and a better camera. This makes it extremely tempting to get a new phone model as soon as your plan says you are eligible for one — but your new smartphone might be killing the planet.
Researchers at McMaster University examined the massive carbon impact of the Information and Communication Industry (I.C.T.), which includes computers, servers, and smartphones. The researchers found that building a new smartphone takes as much energy as using an old smartphone for an entire decade.
I.C.T. is expected to be responsible for 14% of the world’s carbon footprint by 2040, which is half as much as the entire transport industry. Researchers say larger, fancier smartphones have a much worse carbon footprint than old, smaller phones like the iPhone 4S. What’s more — according to the study’s lead author, Lotfi Belkhir, — less than 1% of smartphones are being recycled. So, next time you’re due for an upgrade, consider keeping your phone for an extra year for the sake of the environment — or at least opting for a smaller smartphone model.