When the battery in your iPhone has met its end and you don’t have insurance, do you buy an entirely new iPhone or simply replace the battery? As the effects of climate change loom closer, these are the difficult questions we have begun to ask ourselves as consumers. The good news is that you have options. Depending on the damage it can be beneficial to invest in a new phone, but more often than not researchers are finding that repairing an old phone saves you money and considerably decreases your carbon footprint.

Why does buying a new smartphone have such an impact?

Those bigger screens and thinner devices aren’t all what they seem. Although devices seem to be getting smaller and retailed as energy efficient, the environmental impact is getting worse. The carbon footprint from ICT (Information Communication Technology) production has tripled since 2007 and smartphones specifically are set to have the biggest carbon footprint within the tech industry in the next 20 years. 

Rare materials are needed to build a smartphone. Unfortunately, the CO2 emissions from mining these materials are equivalent to the total CO2 emitted from using the phone for two whole years. This means that investing in your old smartphone saves you from emitting two extra years of CO2.  

To make matters worse, less than 1% of all smartphones get recycled, which means your phone could end up in a landfill simply for a dead battery.  

How long should I keep a smartphone?

Experts suggest that keeping a smartphone for two years can lower your carbon footprint. that may seem ambitious, especially if the problem costs more to fix than the phone. But phone hardware can generally live for years and can take a bit of a beating. This is where the decision making comes in… can you offset the price of a new phone with repairs? Screens and batteries are among some of the most common parts that break but they are also affordable to repair. Other repairs, even if they cost a few hundred dollars, are usually worthwhile. 

To repair or not to repair? 

The production of the motherboard and chip require the most amount of energy and are the most costly to repair. If you are hit with this dilemma, researchers say it is best to look at the big picture. Evaluate what year the phone is, if there are other expected repairs in the near future, and most importantly software. With software constantly changing and upgrading, it is important to look at your current phone’s compatibility.

Do the pros of repair outweigh the cons of a new purchase? If so, it is best to repair and wait two to three years until it is time to upgrade. Another way to lower your footprint is to buy a used smartphone and sell your previous phone when it is time to upgrade. 

The important takeaway from the question “to buy or to repair?” is to first consider your impact on the environment and what you can do to be a conscious consumer. The good thing is we are here to help! Our knowledgeable, professional experts can help guide you through repairing your device affordably or guide you through your next steps in purchasing a new smartphone.. Contact us today to get started!