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A terrific article has been circulating on e-waste. It’s a long read, but also seems fairly comprehensive and nuanced. Within it are a number of interesting facts as well as a number of enlightening points of analysis. For instance, did you know:

84% of the carbon emissions associated with the iPhone 6s is related to manufacture of the phone — only 10% comes from usage. This makes product lifetime the key determinant of overall environmental impact. […] A device that lasts longer spreads its manufacturing impacts over a longer time period.” It’s not just carbon, either. Re-use markets ease the demand for cobalt and other materials, the mining of which is often harmful to human health and the environment.

Product lifetime is important, which contradicts the standard practice in much of the tech industry when it comes to such design and economic policies as planned obsolescence.

As the article points out, there are number of solutions on the consumer side of the equation. “Right to repair” laws are one emerging solution.

What brand phone you buy is another solution, as we point out in our ethical guide to mobile phones. Companies like Fairphone, who currently rank top on the ethical index for major mobile phone brands, is one alternative purchase we recommend. The latest iteration of the Fairphone, the Fairphone 2, is fully modular. It is expandable, repairable, and designed with longevity and duration in mind. Their supply chain – for example, the raw materials in the phone – are ethically sourced. If you would like to know more, we reviewed the Fairphone 2 here.

If you’re interested in keeping up with ethical tech and some of the key issues moving forward, this articleis certainly worth a read.

Additionally, check out the video above (also linked in the article on e-waste).

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