Are smartphones a climate problem?

A group of experts has assessed the climate benefits of making mobile devices more durable.

If they increase the life of the smartphones up to 5 years, and other electrical devices, in just one year would save the European Union (EU) as much carbon emissions as removing 5 millions of cars off the road annually, which is roughly the same number of cars that drive in Portugal. This equates to nearly 10 million tons of annual CO2 emissions up to 2030.

These high numbers are associated with the enormous amount of energy and resources involved in the production and distribution of new products, as well as the replacement of old products.

Climate Cost Facts:

  • The production of smartphones EU has the greatest climate impact among the products analyzed;

  • The complete life cycle of smartphones from Europe causes 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, which is about 25% of Portugal's average emissions in recent years. Increasing the life of these devices in just one year will save you over 2 million tons of emissions;

  • The average life of a smartphone In Europe is 3 years, including annual sales of nearly 211 million units;

  • Laptops last about 6 years.

At 2021, all manufacturers will need to ensure that all products can be easily disassembled, and provide spare parts and repair information for professional repairers.

These new rules should be adopted by the European Commission in September or October of the same year.


Mariana Vieira

Degree in Secretarial and Business Communication.

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