Ask most people today about the thing that they can’t separate themselves from. Mostly (especially millennials, no hate just truth) the answer would be smartphones. And it’s true that this simple, handheld gadget is so essential to modern times. But some things done by phone owners are not exactly Earth-friendly.
What about the ones who keep on buying cheap but breakable headphones? Or the ones who keep “attaching” their phones to power plugs because they keep on using it? What about buying products from phone brands which are not exactly sustainable or ethical?
So to reduce the negativity towards our Mother Earth, being greener with our phones is one of the easier solutions. It’s inevitable that we have to invest, meaning that we give out more money than usual, but the result will make us and the environment happier. So here are some ways that you can do to be eco-friendly with your smartphones.
Green up your accessories
All phones need complementary gadgets. Great products are available, but sometimes they’re a tad too pricey. People opt for cheaper alternatives or imitations which easily break. This is a problem because you create a lot more waste, and some plastic pieces are too small to recycle. Not all countries have good electronic waste management too, so they’ll likely end up in the landfills.
Amidst the advanced tech market, there are the ones that are green and sustainable. You can start with wooden phone cases which are widely available on the market. For something fancier, there are Woodbuds, IBamboo, and Helios Smart.
If you’re a fan of music and wooden phone accessories, then you’ll like Woodbuds. Don’t think that you can’t look cool with these earphones, because they’ve got different stylish colors and cable types. Woodbuds manufactures their earphones with very small carbon footprint. The wood is also FSC certified, meaning that they have sustainable sources.
And don’t you worry about the cables, because they’re made from bio-plastic. They’re degradable and won’t damage the Earth so much. The packaging is just as green and 100% recyclable. They’re basically green all the way. But that still makes it not breakable and just as robust as the commercial, non-green ones.
What’s more is that Woodbuds works with Woodland trust. For every 100 products they sell, they plant a new tree. As for other charity, they donate 1% of every product sold to a network of environmental organizations. Isn’t this brand lovable?
Let’s say you’re not a fan of listening to music with earphones. You like to keep your music loud with speaker. A simple bamboo will turn up the volume of your music and make you happy. Basically, iBamboo is a speaker (made of real bamboo).
Because it’s simple, you won’t get extra bass feature or anything. However, this speaker amplifies the volume of your phone. You’ll get a loud stereo sound which are very effective whenever you need an extra boost for your phone’s speaker.
Unfortunately, there’s an “i” letter in the brand, meaning that this speaker is only available for apple phones or music players. But the plus side is that you don’t need electricity for this speaker. You don’t have to charge or fill it with batteries. It’s also so convenient because you don’t need jack cables. All you have to do is slip your phone into the hole and play your music!
Helios Smart by SolPro
Smartphone owners can’t live without chargers, especially the heavy users who frequently need to fill the phone battery. Little did they know that voltage from wall outlets need to convert to match the voltage of the batter. This can take 15% more energy, which is a waste.
Your alternative is a solar-powered portable charger like Helios Smart. This charger has three fold out solar panels, and if you leave it under direct sunlight for one and half hour, you can use it to fully charge your smartphone.
Helios Smart has two USB ports with different amperes to charge different devices at the same time. So if your tablet and phone are all out, you can charge them together. And if there’s no sun, you can always charge it from the wall outlets. Don’t worry about the converting problem, this charger has a “pass through” technology.
Aside of being so convenient and environment-friendly, this charger is perfect for you who are the outdoorsy type. You can go off the grid as you like but you can still be safe and connected, especially because the sun is around. But if you’re the indoor type, charging your phone by the window on a lunch break is also great, too.
Pay attention to the brand
Being eco-friendly and fair in technology is a real challenge. The demand for smartphone is ceaseless and it keeps growing. What makes things worse is that there will be more advanced and popular version of the smartphone and people have the need to change their gadgets within short period of time.
Some well-known brands still have environmental issues, unethical working conditions, and recycling problems. Those brands undoubtedly create a lot of waste, which is the last thing we want on Earth. However, there are brands which incorporate and value sustainability. If you’re into Android, you might want to check out Fairphone.
Fairphone claims to be the world’s first ethical phone which are built to last longer than conventional phones. Other than that, the materials are sourced from fair trade and they value sustainability. The packaging is also sustainable and green, it even dissolves in water!
Moreover, Fairphones are very repairable, so whenever your phone is broken, you can fix it easily because they have replaceable modules. This brand promises a long lasting phone externally as well as internally. With regular software updates, you won’t ever have to worry about lags.
And if you’re worried about camera, don’t be. This phone is packed with 12 MP main camera and 5MP front-facing camera. You can still keep your selfie game on point, and even much better because you’re using green and ethical smartphone!
But if you don’t like Android and you prefer apple products, don’t fret. Apple isn’t always ethical and green, but they’re always pushing their efforts to be like that, and it’s admirable. Now, they have Clean Water program, they also slowly incorporate solar power, and add eco-friendly packaging.
To achieve green packaging, Apple uses virgin paper responsibly and use recycled paper where possible. They redesign its packing to save resources. For example, the two separate trays in iPhone 6s packaging becomes one in iPhone 7’s. The material changes from petroleum-based plastic to a fiber-based material too. This results in 84% plastic usage decrease.
Undoubtedly, iPhone X also has the same eco-friendly efforts too. If you want to know the full environmental report, you can check it out here.
Green apps are a great assistance in our daily lives
Now that you’ve got green accessories and green phones, it’s time to get deeper. Your green efforts will be incomplete without green mobile apps. And these apps will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
If you have conventional cars, this app is perfect. Transit helps you cut back the fuel you use but you can still drive to your destination safely and on time. Money saving and eco-friendly, right? You can also use this app to find public transit, bike-share, and even hail an Uber. A good example of green convenience in your hands.
Now you won’t have to think too much about where to recycle any kinds of your trash. You can find the nearest recycling centers along with their phone numbers, directions, and operation hours with the help of iRecycle. And not just that, you’ll know how to recycle over 350 materials in various different ways. Hardcore recyclers will head over heels in love with this app.
Does your home need heating and cooling but you want to save energy too? Ecobee got your back. You can use this smart thermostat to heat and cool specific rooms and adjust temperatures when nobody’s home.
The app syncs with the system, so you have the freedom and free access to monitor and control your cooling or heating anywhere and anytime. Just make sure you have a good internet protection so you won’t get hacked!
Which one do you think is the most doable or has the most impact? Share your thoughts in the comments below. If you want to be greener with other things, make sure to check out our other how to be greener article here. Leave a like if you enjoyed reading this article, and have a great and green time with your phone!