Consider this: today, there are more mobile devices on earth than people. The new technology age brings amazing opportunity, but it also means we're consuming and disposing of electronics at an alarming rate:
According to a UN study, out of the 43 million tonnes of electronic waste produced globally each year, only 16% of it goes to recycling or re-use. The rest of it - valuable raw materials - goes to landfill.
Globally, we throw out 300 tonnes of gold annually. The world's largest gold mine only produces 61 tonnes. We throw out 1.9 million of tonnes of copper annually. The world's largest copper mine produces 1.0 million tonnes. You get the idea...
We're literally throwing out £7 billion of gold per year - have we gone nuts?
Obsolescence is great for sales in the electronics industry. Laptops breaking every few years. Cha-ching! Software upgrades not compatible with hardware. Cha-ching! Smartphones that can't be unscrewed to change batteries or repair. Cha-ching! But it's not so great for your wallet, and pretty disastrous for the environment.
Next time you buy a new smartphone, think twice. Do you really need to upgrade? What about a refurbished phone - you can get them near-new with a warranty. Then with the money you save, you can ask "Siri, book me a luxury weekend mini-break".
Fairphone, based in Amsterdam, sell the world’s first ethical, modular phone, made with repairability in mind. They started in 2010 as a campaign against conflict minerals. Turns out they weren't the only ones who cared - today Fairphone has over 100,000 users worldwide.
Be smart about getting rid of your old gadgets. Donate them to an e-waste charity. Sell them through a certified seller. Get them recycled (Apple or Argos accept old devices in exchange for cash). Just be sure to wipe all your information - you don't want to be a surprise YouTube star!
Fewer broken gadgets means less landfill. But instead of hard plastic casing, try an eco-friendly version made from bio materials.