There is a shocking amount of cell phone waste these days. The average person gets a new phone every two years or less. Many people have both personal and work cell phones. Add to that the excessive variety of cell phone accessories that quickly go out of date, and you have a recipe for waste.
So how does a zero-waste gal like me keep up in a high turnover, tech-heavy, world? Slowly and thoughtfully. Here are my top three tips for being a conscious cell phone consumer:
Tip 1 – Go as long as possible between new devices.
I have been eligible for an upgrade for more than a year now, but I waited until I actually needed to. Only when my phone had hit its memory limit and ability to upgrade the software did I finally cave in.
Tip 2 – Recycle old phones, but not too quickly.
Once you get a new device, you have to decide what to do with the old one. In our house, we generally hang on to our last phones as back-ups in case anything drastic happens to the new ones before the contract is paid off. You can certainly get insurance to replace a lost or broken phone with another brand new one, but we prefer to reuse the older ones if at all possible.
You only need one back up phone though, so any surplus ones can be sold, recycled or donated depending on their age and state. We donate ours to SaskTel’s Phones for a Fresh Start program.
Tip 3 - Go easy on the accessories.
Just as bad as phone turnover, is accessory bingeing. You only need one case, one set of head phones, one or two chargers. I highly recommend labeling or marking them to increase the chance you’ll get them back if left anywhere.
One of the pieces I wanted to do differently this time was the case. So many phone cases get made and never sold or used, nor are they recyclable once the phone meets the end of its life.
Saskatoon’s own Jeremy Lang created the Pela Case which is biodegradable, and doesn’t come packaged in plastic. Ever since I heard Pela Cases, I have been waiting patiently for my phone to die so I could get one for with a new phone. (It didn’t seem logical to get rid of the perfectly good case I already had – plus my phone was so old they didn’t even make a case for that model.) I have ordered the case, but since they are in high demand, it might be a while before it arrives.
All in all, I am happy with the new phone and look forward to taking care of it so it lasts as long as possible and composting the case at the end.