It’s not easy to make a phone call while being socially and environmentally responsible! From assembly lines that take advantage of cheap labor in China, to some heavy ecological and social implications in some African countries, we do not know where and how to buy eco-friendly mobile phones.
Here are some noteworthy initiatives:
Phonebloks is an organization working on the idea of developing a modular phone. In this phone, all parts (screen, memory, keyboard, case, lens, etc.) would be replaceable in case of failure or if the consumer wants to improve his cell phone. For example, if the screen is broken: no need to change the phone, just order a new one. Maybe you want more memory or a more powerful camera: just buy the corresponding module and replace the old ones.
The stated objective of Phonebloks is to fight against planned obsolescence and propose alternatives to the consumerist approach. While doing this, they hope to convince the major companies in the technology sector to offer modular phones. Google’s (and Motorola’s) Project Ara is a good example of the potential of modular mobile phones.
Here is a great video about this modular phone project:
Another interesting initiative in the responsible mobile phones sphere is the Fairphone. This “fair” phone is manufactured from fair-trade raw materials (as much as possible) that are not products of forced child labor. Moreover, the managers of this phone factory guarantee employees decent working conditions.
If you are interested, the model is developed under Android, and only costs € 310 for a 16GB of memory and 4.3 inch touch screen.
Another interesting trend you can see in several countries is the birth of “recycle centers” that recycle and repair old phones that you want to dispose of. These centers can recycle rare gadgets in mobile phones and propose a “secondhand” phone similar in quality, performance and cost.
Another advantage of these companies is that they often have a social dimension and participate in the professional integration of disabled workers or people who have difficulty finding employment.
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