The life cycle of every smartphone begins from the mines from different parts of the world. In the mines, raw materials and rare earth metals are extracted from the earth in an energy-intensice process.
All those materials get transported to factories to get refined, which mostly used very high temperature and significant energy, after which they are turned into different parts and components like batteries, wires, logic boards, motors etc. These components are later transferred by fossil fuel-powered vehicles to various factories where they are assembled into complete devices, and that’s when they are shipped to consumers all around the globe.
This entire manufacturing process costs a lot to nature, and it’s only made worse when the consumers discord their phone so quickly. Manufacturers these days have made even more difficult by not being able repair devices, thats why consumers find it easy and convenient to just replace them, which further contributes to the already-dire climate crisis.
“The greenest smartphone is the one you already own,” said Cole Stratton, an associate instructor at Indiana University Bloomington, who has studied tech supply chains. “Smartphones seem so small and inconsequential, so unless you’ve studied the supply chains and realized everything that goes into creating [them], you really just have no sense of how environmentally devastating these things are.”
The growing “right-to-repair” movement could help.
Right-to-repair advocates which includes Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak, are also calling for laws that would require device makers to submit the tools, parts and repairs manuals compulsory to allow users to get their products fixed by local or independent shops or rather do it own their own.
According to the advocate, if the users are more able to easily repair their devices, their might not replace it with new devices on frequent basis which will reduce the resource-intensive production process and reducing the electronic waste. And it’s not only for smartphones: Right-to-Repair can make it easier to fix everything right from tablets to tractors.