Earth Day 2023: How a Buying and Selling Tech can Tackle E-waste

Stuff. We love it. Particularly when it comes to upgrading our tech, it seems we can't get enough.

In fact, in 2022 alone we purchased over 150 million new iPhones, despite each having roughly 4 unused phones sitting in our bottom drawers collecting dust.

We’re so used to our linear buying habits where we make, use and then dispose of products, we often forget that our new tech purchases and ‘keeping for a rainy day’ drawer can have a massive impact on our planet, but not today…

It’s Earth Day!

Earth Day is an annual event that's all about raising awareness and taking action to protect our planet.

This Earth Day, we’re telling the linear system where to get off and turning things circular in a fight against e-waste, the world’s fastest growing waste stream.

And we’re making it super easy for you to make an impact by asking you to do 1 simple thing: Recycle your unwanted smartphones with us.

It's less of an ask, and more of a win-win for everyone because for every phone you recycle, you can make up to £600 cash. 

Helping the planet aint so bad after all, hey?

To make this Earth Week even sweeter we’re giving you an extra £20 cashback for every phone you recycle and an extra £20 in savings if you upgrade your phone to reboxed refurbished. 

Still on the fence? Let us dive a little deeper into how buying refurbished tech and recycling older can positively impact our planet:

First, what’s the circular economy?

The act of buying and selling tech is part of a system called the Circular Economy. It’s pretty much the opposite of the linear tech system you’re used to.

The circular economy is all about keeping resources in use for as long as possible. In the context of tech, that means designing products to be long-lasting and easily repairable (which most tech manufacturers are low-key failing at), as well as making sure that when we're done with our gadgets, they can be recycled or repurposed instead of ending up as e-waste in a landfill. 

According to figures from the UN, the world generated 53.6 mega-tonnes of e-waste in 2019. That is an increase of 480% compared to 2015 levels – and it is set to rise even further. The UN predicts that by 2030, this figure will have reached 74.7 mega-tonnes per year, which is an increase of 710% compared to 2015. Learn more about how the Circular Economy can beat climate change here.

That’s where we step in. We’re making it easier, cheaper and waaaay sexier to buy and sell preloved or refurbished tech that would otherwise we destined for landfill.

Goodbye shiny and new, hello still-shiny and just-like new.

Why should I sell my old smartphones?

When you sell your old phone, you're essentially extending its life. Instead of throwing it away or letting it collect dust in a drawer, someone else can use it and enjoy its features. This means that the resources and energy that went into making the phone in the first place don't go to waste.

When you sell your phone to us, we’ll refurbish it and give it a new home, keeping it in use for even longer. And if your phone can't be refurbished, it can still be recycled, which is much better than sending it to a landfill. Find out where to recycle older devices here.

Why upgrade to a refurbished phone?

There are two main reasons for choosing a refurbished phone over a brand new one: cash and carbon.

Our planet

Let's start with carbon. The average carbon emissions of a smartphone over the course of its lifetime come to around around 80kg, with 80% of that occurring during the manufacturing process. Choosing an existing device rather than a new one means you're saving this huge chunk of carbon.

Choosing a refurbished handset over a new one also helps prevent electronic waste or e-waste through the power of circularity. Instead of creating demand for new phones, you're giving a second life to a device that would otherwise have been discarded. This reduces the need for new resources and helps to conserve energy, water, and other natural resources used in the production of new devices.

Refurbished smartphones produce 89% less e-waste than a new one. Not just because you’re preventing a phone from ending up in a landfill well before its time, but you’re also saving a bunch of precious raw materials from being mined in the first place.

The average smartphone is made up of at least 15 different types of raw materials, from gold, silver, copper, chrome… the list goes on. By opting for a refurbished smartphone you’re preventing 243.6kg of raw materials from being mined. Nice!

Pretty impressive, right?

What’s more is there’s more gold in 1 tonne of e-waste than 1 tonne of gold ore. So you’d be doing yourself a massive financial disservice by throwing your old tech in the bin rather than trying to sell it on. Read up on our guide to selling your phone here.


Your pocket

As if helping to save the planet isn’t enough, buying a refurbished mobile also saves you cash. 

Buy a brand new iPhone 13 from Apple and it’ll set you back at least £649; buy a refurbished one from reboxed from just £480. In fact, refurbished phones are often 20-40% cheaper than their new equivalents. 

And you won’t just save on the initial cost. We all know that brand new cars depreciate the moment you drive off the forecourt and it turns out that phones aren’t just the same – they’re worse. 

Whereas cars lose about 20% of their value in the first year, phones lose between 38% and 76%. Buy refurbished and let someone else get stung for that initial fall in value instead.

But what about the quality of refurbished phones? Are they reliable? 

Reboxed phones are certified refurbished by our 70 point TechCheck process meaning they’re tested and inspected before being resold. They may have some cosmetic wear and tear, but they should function just as well as a new device. Plus, our refurbished phones come with a 12-month warranty and 30 day money back guarantee, for your peace of mind.

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