The Smartphone That Aims To Combat E-Waste

Fairphone 2 is a smartphone that has been designed to combat the electronic waste issue. It is a sequel to the first ‘ethical smartphone.’ Discover more below.

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The original Fairphone had relative success. This phone was launched in 2013 by the Amsterdam-based social enterprise. What made it different from other smartphones on the market? Well, the Fairphone came with the promise that it would lower electronic waste, improve the working conditions for the factory staff that were based in China, and that it would not use any components that were made using minerals from conflict mines. Thanks to the 60,000 people that bought the original version of the phone, the company were able to upgrade it and create the Fairphone 2 without requiring investment from external sources.

So, what makes Fairphone 2 different from the first version? Well, the phone has been designed in such a way to combat the throwaway nature we have developed in regards to phones and other electronic items. One of the ways it does this is by being easy to repair, which saves consumers money too. The phone can be opened with ease, and it is constructed in such a manner that makes repairs more straightforward. The company has made spare parts easy to access as well. It is hoped that this will encourage people to get problems fixed, rather than throw their phones away.

Not only this, but the back cover of the phone is also shatterproof. This wraps around the edges of the screen. We have probably all experienced that dreaded moment when we drop our phone on the floor and take a deep breath as we pick it up to see if it has shattered. Well, the chances of this happening are minimised with the Fairphone 2, which in turn aims to reduce the number of damaged phones that get thrown away.

The phone, which has been co-designed with Seymourpowell, a London design agency, also aims to improve conditions for factory workers. A contribution from the sale of every phone will go to a worker welfare fund at their factory in Suzhou in China. This is where all of the phones are manufactured.

Not only this, but the business works directly with suppliers that trace their materials back to mines that are validated as being conflict-free. They ensure that every material can be traced back to its source so that there is full clarity regarding where it came from. Another unique aspect associated with the Fairphone is the fact that the company has placed a detailed breakdown of costs on their website. This shows people how much it takes to make, service, and sell the phone, ensuring full transparency. This is something we have already seen with some mobile phone contract plans like the Tracfone plans, which are very transparent when it comes to costs.

Finally, on their website, you can also take a look at the milestones they have reached so far, and their goals. For example, they have begun researching to set up an electronics repair centre, they have reached the goal of fully supporting conflict-free tantalum, and they have received a 10/10 for repairability from iFixit.

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