The environmental burden of the disposal of mobile devices cannot be ignored. When consumers discard mobile devices because they are no longer in use, not only is it damaging to the environment, but the material that went into making the devices are wasted. According to one report, less than 20% of e-waste is properly recycled, and 80% of it ends up in landfills or is informally recycled.
Contributing to a more sustainable future is good stewardship and should be a priority for every company and consumer. Management of the lifecycle of the mobile device can be a tool to achieving sustainability goals. Sustainable practices are not only good for the environment, but they can also enhance a company’s brand reputation and bottom line.
These four approaches can help contribute to a more sustainable future.
1. Incorporate Circular Economy Principles
Contributing to a more sustainable future requires a shift in thought and approach, and a circular economy offers a viable approach to achieving environmental sustainability. The circular economy refashions the linear production of goods into a loop that facilitates the reuse and recycling of materials to benefit the environment. Reuse is a key feature of the circular economy, and sustainability can be achieved by maximizing the lifecycle of mobile device products, their components, and materials that are currently in use. The ultimate goals are to reduce e-waste and limit new natural resources by using what is already available in existing devices.
Because of mobile devices’ proliferation—an estimated 14.92 billion mobile devices are operating in the world right now—creating a solid foundation for a sustainable future by making the most of every mobile device possible.
2. Implement a Mobile Device Trade-In Program
A mobile device trade-in program gives working smartphones a new lease on life and is now an essential part of a mobile device’s lifecycle. Consumers want to make a smooth transition to getting new mobile devices and trade-in provides a path to the latest versions at more affordable prices. At the same time, mobile carriers, OEMs, and retailers can obtain residual value from the traded-in device.
The pre-owned mobile devices that are still working properly are filtered into the secondary market, where they can address the growing consumer and commercial demand for used devices. This extension of the lifespan of mobile devices aligns with circular economy principles.
3. Embrace the 5G Rollout to Take Steps toward Sustainability
There is high consumer demand for 5G-capable mobile devices that can handle higher bandwidth and faster speeds. The 5G rollout offers a prime opportunity to obtain older devices that still have plenty of life in them through trade-in programs. Additionally, there is a high demand for 4G devices worldwide, and a strong secondary market for them as new 4G devices are still cost-prohibitive to many.
4. Be Prepared to Maximize Value in the Secondary Market
According to one report, the secondary mobile market is set to reach $67 billion by 2023. One of the most significant driving forces behind the mobile device secondary market growth is the ability for consumers to obtain a device at a considerable savings over what a comparable new one would cost. With the deluge of 4G devices that will bombard the secondary market as consumers are upgrading to 5G, OEMs, retailers, and mobile carriers should make sure that their trade-in programs are prepared to optimize and scale their device collection and disposition in order to maximize their recovery value.
How mobile devices are handled and managed throughout their lifecycle can impact sustainability efforts. HYLA, an Assurant company, can help companies take these steps to meet and surpass their sustainability goals and requirements and make a clear and lasting difference to people and the environment.