3 ways to make your mobile phone more eco-friendly

Around 150 million mobile phones are discarded every year, and Deloitte states that 83% of the emissions produced by smartphones come from their manufacturing, shipping, and first-year usage. Even if the number of mobile phones out there stayed the same, if we all kept our phones for longer than a year, we’d be helping the environment.


As with everything, consumerism comes with a price, which is usually paid for by the planet. But there’s no need to depair! We’ve compiled some tips for you to help make your next mobile phone more eco-friendly, including refurbished phone providers and a list of more sustainable phone options.

My favourite part of the buy nothing new challenge so far has been repurposing a toilet and bathtub into a planter and pond for my garden!

9 minutes to read

by Katie Skelton  / July 1st 2022

Keep your phone for as long as possible

Don’t be sucked in by manufacturers’ (you know who we mean!) clever marketing and shiny object syndrome. Keep your phone as long as you can, even if everyone around you is already hopping onto the next upgrade. It might be hard at first to walk around with an older phone – after all, we’ve all been fed the message that we must have a new phone to ‘keep up.’ But ignore it and hold your phone with pride. The more of us that resist the pull of new tech, the more acceptable it will be to not have new things. 

Repair and replace components

The first thing to go is usually the battery, but instead of using that as a reason to buy a new phone, take it to a repair shop and get the battery replaced instead. Although it’s frustrating that phones are not built for you to repair (they’re glued shut so that you’re more likely to just buy a new one), you’ll pay much less to replace the battery than you’d pay for a new device.

Remember the case

Make sure to also buy a good plastic-free or biodegradable phone case so it can survive the inevitable falls, meaning you get to keep your phone for longer. 

Refurbished phones

Not quite ready to give up your shiny object syndrome? Try buying a refurbished phone instead! Refurbished phones allow you to buy an upgraded phone without the cost to the environment that comes with buying a new one. They’re also significantly cheaper than buying new ones.

The market for refurbished phones is increasing, due to increased environmental awareness from the public but also because they’re so much more cost effective. The refurbished smartphone market is expected to grow around 11.2% per year till 2024.

Things to look out for when buying refurbished

  • Check the warranty period. You don’t want to buy an unknowingly faulty phone that breaks within the first year without any opportunity to trade it back for another one.
  • Make sure you’re buying from a reputable company so you can be sure your new (or not so new) mobile is safe to use and has been thoroughly quality checked.
  • Check that the battery life is at a percentage you’d be happy with.
  • Understand what condition you’re buying the phone in, which will also affect its price. If you’re okay with a scratch or two, you can buy a phone for even cheaper.

We’ll save you the hassle of looking for a legitimate company! Here are a few we’ve found that have good warranty periods and a huge selection of phones to choose from:

Mobile phones that are more eco-friendly

If you are buying a new phone, there are still some greener options than the usual suspects.Check out the following phone companies for inspiration.


Fairphone is a relatively new mobile brand, and different to your standard iPhone or Android. How? They believe a fairer electronics industry is possible and are actively working towards making it a reality. They’re putting human rights, worker wellbeing, and the climate at the top of their business agenda, and they’re the “first and only smartphone company to be Fairtrade gold certified.”

It’s clear that they’re not a greenwasher – Fairphone’s commitment to sustainability has been recognised in the form of a platinum EcoVadis medal, and a B-Corp certification on top. They’ve also done something unseen in the mainstream tech market: users are able to easily take apart their phones for repairs without having to go to a specialist to do so.

The electronics industry thrives on a model based on people buying new phones instead of grabbing a screwdriver and repairing them. So, it’s great to see a tech company actively challenging this unsustainable business model.


While Teracube’s certifications might not be as impressive as Fairphone’s, they’re still actively trying to change the mobile phone game with their 4-year warranty and replaceable battery system. 

Most phone companies only offer a one- or two-year warranty, which means there’s less time for a user to have their phone repaired for free. So, they end up buying another one instead of paying to get it fixed – and one of the biggest environmental impacts of phones is their e-waste when thrown away.

All phones also come with a biodegradable case and a guarantee that the phone is intended to last.


While this isn’t a mobile, we thought it was worth a mention. Ecotalk is a mobile service provider who has teamed up with the RSPB to help them create new wildlife habitats in the UK. They use a portion of the money paid to them by customers to fund habitat creation projects and buy areas of land to give back to nature.

They also power all of their customers’ calls, texts, and data with green energy from the sun and wind. It’s all verified by Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin, which means that they’re using genuinely green energy from reputable sources.

Share your sustainable changes with Ailuna

If you’ve got any other tips to share on sustainable mobile phones, we’d love to hear them – just tag us in your stories on Instagram @ailunacommunity. For more sustainable tips and advice, don’t forget to follow us, too!

Download the Ailuna app today and accept your first action – we recommend the Digital Declutter to go hand in hand with your more sustainable mobile phone!


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