Carbon Credentials of Smartphones

The launch of new iPhones brings a completely different topic into discussion. It is the discussion of carbon credentials of Smartphones. All the major consumer electronics manufacturers are in competition in their respective class of business and the consumers are busy in evaluation of the products to find out the most suitable for them. Amidst all the public excitement surrounding the advanced technology, people seem to lose track of the most important concern – the carbon footprint.

Technological advancement is welcome but the natural environment cannot be neglected on pretext of development and growth. The latest products by Apple are iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C, which is the first medium-priced handset by the American mobile device manufacturer. However, both the phones have significant greater impact on environment than any of the previous mobile phones by Apple.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint of iPhone 5Cis 60kg and that of iPhone 5S is 70 kg. It assures that the new iPhones are anything but ecologically friendly. The carbon credentials of smartphones of Apple are not good and most of that takes place during the production phase. Only 12% of the carbon footprint occurs during the lifespan of the devices. The remainder percentage can be considered overhead. Thankfully, the supply chain of iPhones follows standard recycling procedure due which considerable fraction gets recycled and lets the company maintain relatively better carbon credentials. Though Tim Cook explicitly mentioned that carbon footprint is at the core development at Apple. Yet, however, the launch of 2new website by Apple includes environmentally poorer models.

Carbon Credentials of Smartphones

Rays of Hope

The case of other smartphone manufacturers is not different from that of Apple. Carbon credentials of smartphones of other manufacturers are relatively poorer or better. None of the company has taken great step to incorporate environment-friendliness to mobile development. However, the concept of Phonebloks and that of Fairphone deserves mention under the head of carbon credentials. Phonebloks is working on the concept of modular smartphones that can be upgraded with new parts as their parts fail while the chassis remains the same.

Thus, failure of one vital part will not compel users of Phonebloks to discard the whole handset. Moreover, such upgrades will offer essence of customization. Another company is Fairphone, which produces smartphones that are sourced fairly at all fronts. Tin and tantalum are also in its list of materials as Fairphone refers to its manufacturing materials “conflict free”. Moreover, Fairphone also has provision that allows buyers to donate to Closing the Loop, which is an independent phone recycling company.


Recycling is the need of the age. Most of the constituents of smartphones are made of finite resources. They can be reused by the user, who can dismantle the phone instead of throwing it and use its parts as suitable. Else, a little effort is enough to know about the most accessible recycling company and handover the useless phone to it for good.