Smartphones will have to last longer to reduce carbon emissions

According to activists, EU regulations should focus on the climatic costs of producing smartphones and other electronic devices

Person using a cell phone

Person using a cell phone. / Reference image / Pixabay

Reuters | Francesco Guarascio

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Leer en español: Teléfonos inteligentes podrían ayudar a reducir las emisiones de carbono

Extending the life of smartphones in just one year would significantly reduce carbon emissions in the European Union, a report by environmental groups said Wednesday, calling for new rules in the block to make electronics last longer.

Activists said EU regulations should focus on the climatic costs of producing smartphones and other electronic devices, rather than the efficiency of their energy consumption, as is the current situation.

If smartphones, laptops, washing machines and vacuum cleaners were used for only one more year, the decline resulting from carbon emissions would be similar to that caused by the withdrawal of all cars from Denmark, a state of almost 6 million people said the report.

The document was published by the European Environment Office (EEB), an association of dozens of non-governmental organizations.

"The climate impact of our disposable smartphone culture is too high. We cannot afford to replace them every few years. We need products that last longer and can be repaired if they break," said Jean-Pierre Schweitzer of EEB.

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The report invoked the "right to repair" for EU citizens, which would imply new requirements for appliance manufacturers to use more durable materials in their products and make them easier to repair.

Of the electronics evaluated in the report, smartphones have by far the greatest climate impact, the study showed.

The more than 200 million smartphones sold in Europe each year have an average life of three years and their production, distribution and disposal phases represent the largest amount of emissions.

A smartphone would have to be used for more than two centuries to compensate for the emissions generated by its production, the study said, while the optimal life of a vacuum should be about 20 years.

The complete cycle of smartphones sold in Europe is responsible for 14 million tons of carbon emissions, more than those produced annually in Latvia, which has a population of two million people.

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