Tired of changing phones every 2 to 3 years? What if they lasted 10 instead?

We all know the problem. Over 200 million smartphones are sold every year in Europe. That’s nearly 7 every second. Each time one of these phones is made, it creates between 40 and 80kgs of CO2 (the same as a 3 hour drive).

And where are the old ones going? The answer is: into the bin. E-waste is the fastest growing waste in the world. Over 50 million tons were discarded in 2019, and only 17% were properly recycled.

The only way to reverse the trend is to urgently put an end to premature obsolescence. 

The #10YearPhone

This is why Right to Repair just launched the #10YearPhone campaign asking Europe to be a true leader, and ensure that every new smartphone put on the market lasts for at least 10 years.

Disguised as a “fake product launch”, the campaign highlights what would be needed for phones to last at least 10 years: 

  • Design for repair – easily openable, with parts that can be removed with accessible tools, and no software locks
  • Batteries that are easily removable and replaceable without special tools. 
  • Software support that lasts 10 years, 
  • Spare parts and repair information that are accessible to everyone – not just professional repairers
  • Repairs that are actually affordable and accessible – by addressing the cost of spare parts
  • Information on how well a phone can be repaired compared to other phones on the market (repair score)

And while a 10-year phone sounds like a challenge, it is well within reach.

A unique opportunity for change

The time to act is now. The latest IPCC report could not be clearer and as we’re getting close to COP26, words need to be supported by real action and legislation. Extending the lifetime of smartphones by just one year could save 2.1 million tonnes in annual CO2 emissions. Going further and extending the lifetime from 3 to 10 years would save 6.2 million tonnes annually by 2030 – a 42% reduction on the overall footprint of the products. This is the right level of ambition for a continent striving for climate neutrality.

Right now, the European Commission has a unique opportunity to influence a global shift in the way smartphones are designed, repaired and reused thanks to various policies it is about to propose and implement including Ecodesign, a repair index, and the Circular Electronics Initiative. 
But we need to apply pressure. This is why, as part of the #10YearPhone campaign, we wrote a letter to the European Commission supported by leading thinkers and activists in the repair, digital rights, design and sustainability sectors demanding immediate ambition on these policies.

Can you help us apply pressure to put an end to premature obsolescence?

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