A Guide To Using Your Current Phone Sustainably

When thinking about sustainability, people often assume that it pertains to food, energy, and way of life. But you’d be surprised to find that smartphones and other electronics can be included in this aspect, too.

A Guide To Using Your Current Phone Sustainably

One obvious way of making your current mobile phone sustainable is to keep it in good working condition for as long as you can. Instead of mindlessly upgrading to the newest model, think- is the cost of a new phone worth the incremental upgrades? Or, do you really need an additional 2 megapixel, a few centimeters of screen size or extra memory?

An extension of up to 4 years can decrease your consumer impact on the environment by about 40 percent. Newer phones can be made to last 7 years, and they can be serviceable for a long, long time.

Using Your Smartphone Sustainably

Are you nearing the end of your mobile phone or cellular service provider and thinking about getting a new one? Think about what you need and your budget.

Consider buying a refurbished phone. Though it may sound inferior, “refurbished” is actually equal in quality and durability as newer phones sold in stores. If you want to take it one step further, you can do some research and find out which models or units have a sustainable, upgradable or repairable aspect.

A 3-year contract is a magic number to prolong the lifespan of your device and get additional savings as well.

Tip 1: Make Sure To Dispose Of Your Old Phone Responsibly

So you’ve sprung for a new phone and now you don’t have a use for the old one. Do you simply throw it in the trash bin?

There are several ways on how you can give back to mother earth (and gain some extra cash in the process). You can trade it in, opt for a buyback program or sell it online on recycling sites such as Plunc.

Tip 2: Toughen It Up With A Green Case And Screen Protector

Good options include ones from Pela that are rated eco-friendly and won’t harm the earth.

Your aim would be to protect your smartphone from anything that could happen to it. For instance, is the device waterproof, and can it survive a 5 or 6-foot drop on the pavement? Get waterproof cases to stop moisture, rain and an accidental dip in the pool from ruining the phone prematurely.

While today’s technology has given us features such as Gorilla Glass and stronger materials, it won’t hurt to insure in extra protection. Get a guaranteed repair service or warranty if you don’t think you can afford a replacement in the first few years of your device’s life.

Tip 3: Install Phone And Software Updates Regularly

System updates can appear anytime on your phone, and it’s best not to just swipe them out and ignore them.

The reason? These updates help keep your mobile device safe from vulnerabilities, online attacks and it improves the user experience. Moreover, they add to the overall quality of life and can even bring new advanced features, i.e., fingerprint security and network additions.

As a precaution, follow the instructions per update and don’t forget to have a battery level of at least 50 percent to ensure your phone won’t get bricked.

Tip 4: Save Your Screen From Burn-Ins

OLED screens sometimes have burn-in issues, where other parts of the screen are used more than the edges, for example. If you set the brightness all the way up, have a display timeout set to “never” or constantly use white colour, then burn-ins can become quite common, and incidentally lead to premature screen damage.

The solution? Set the timeout to 5 minutes, change your wallpaper or theme to dark and set auto-brightness to on.

Tip 5: Practice Unplugging

Carbon emissions depend on just how much screen time we do each and every day. The more we use our phone, the more energy is demanded and as such, more fuel is used.

Unplugging is not only good for the self, but also for the environment. Constantly practicing electronic detox days calms the mind, allows us to smell the flowers and appreciate our loved ones. Energy consumption is lowered and diverted to more important things.

Tip 6: Choose Greener Apps

At the start of 2010 Greenpeace has called on major internet service providers to use renewable energy sources. In the same vein, apps will have ratings on whether they use green energy so you can be aware and switch as necessary.


By following this guide, you can protect your device while being mindful of your mobile phone screen time and consumption for maximum sustainability. Make it a habit to dispose of responsibly and recycle anything electronic-related to minimize landfill e-waste for a better future.

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