There’s no doubt that responding to the world’s climate crisis and protecting the environment has become a global focus. From companies pledging to cut their carbon emissions to the growth of the B Corp movement in the UK and going ‘zero waste’ at home – sustainability and the need to safeguard the planet has gained real momentum.
For the world of tech, whose ‘problem list’ includes a mounting e-waste problem and the overuse of precious materials that are becoming scarce, it’s about time that tech companies and providers stepped up to offer a greener solution for their customers.
Yet far from the idea of space-age devices that will cost you an arm (and a leg), going green with tech could be cheaper than you think.
As good as new
Gone are the days of ‘newer = better’. Not only do the newest models of any tech product come with a brand new price tag, they also come with an environmental consequence. Think of all those old phones you have scooped away in a box under your bed – they may seem harmless, but there’s actually multiple precious materials inside them that are going to waste.
Luckily, there’s a solution that ticks both the price and sustainability box. Opting for a refurbished device means you’ll get one that’s ‘as good as new’ for a much more wallet-friendly price. Different to second hand devices that have been used and sold on as is – cracks and all – refurbished devices are cleaned and restored by technicians to an ‘almost new’ condition.
Doing this keeps used devices in circulation, preventing them from unnecessary waste while saving consumers money, too. Check out eBay’s used tech arm and GoPro’s clearance shop to see refurbished tech in action.
Lease for less
Then there’s leasing. In line with changing consumer attitudes towards brand new devices, the need to physically own a product seems to be changing, too. Think about it: we can’t ignore sustainability, and we know that upgrading to newer tech means we’ll have old devices that we don’t know what to do with.
In the world of smartphones, this is a particular problem. It’s estimated that there’s four old, unused smartphones per person in the UK; likely from multiple phone contracts and upgrades. That’s where leasing comes in: leasing a phone means you don’t physically own it at the end of your contract, so you hand it back while upgrading to a new one. The bonus is there’s no old phone to deal with and, in theory, a lower-priced contract as you’re not paying to own the phone outright.
A leader in the smartphone leasing movement is London-based tech startup Raylo, whose subscription service is challenging the status quo of a tired, expensive smartphone industry. Not only are their monthly costs for the latest smartphones very attractive, but they refurbish all the used phones handed back by their customers to make sure someone else gets to use it afterwards. That’s another huge tick for sustainability.
Rethink that upgrade
One of the best ways to make positive changes that are greener and kinder to the planet is to become conscious of our consumption habits. And when it comes to tech, this can be as simple as questioning whether we really need to upgrade.
We get it – if your laptop is on its last legs, it’s probably time for an upgrade. But for devices that have a shorter life cycle and a quicker turnover such as smartphones, it can be all too tempting to go for an upgrade when it feels as though your phone is ageing.
Luckily, there are ways to restore life in your phone without going for that upgrade – and these could be huge money savers, too. If you are happy with your phone, opting for a SIM-only deal could cut your monthly costs significantly as you’ll just be paying for data, calls and texts.
If your phone is being a little slow, you have a couple of options without needing an upgrade. Firstly, if it’s still in warranty, take it to your nearest store to speak to a technician. And if it’s not in warranty, you can still give it some love with a phone refurbishing service that’ll cost you way less than a new phone. The guys over at Which put together a handy guide on this.