Be smart when you pick your new smart phone

The new iPhones, the 5C and 5S, are undoubtedly the hottest gadgets on the market at the moment. But were environmental concerns at the top of Apple’s agenda when they developed these hot new handsets? After all, the company has openly admitted that while the carbon credentials are good, the new models do create larger carbon footprints than the older iPhone 4.

The iPhone 5C and 5S are both up to snuff with Apple's environmental design policy of phasing out brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVCs, but they do generate more greenhouse gases over their lifetimes when compared to the iPhone 4.

Upgrading to a new phone may not seem like the most environmentally sound thing to do… After all, if an older model still works, why get rid of it? Well, there are a lot of eco-friendlier smart phones rolling out onto the market, so if you simply can’t resist the allure of a shiny new phone, getting a more environmentally sound model could actually help you to offset your carbon footprint – if your older phone is of a lower environmental standard.

As well as PVC and BFRs, older cell phones can contain mercury and lead, which if not properly recycled can leak into ground water. And as only eight per cent of cell phones are recycled properly, if the urge for a new cell phone does hit you, do the planet a favour and recycle and older cell phone properly.

Before purchasing a new smart phone, consider the materials that it’s made from. There are many smart phone models out there that are made from as much as 82 per cent of recycled materials, so be sure to ask the hard questions too. Does this have brominated flame retardants? PVCs? Pthlalates? The store clerk may not be able to answer everything, but when you’re shopping for an environmentally-conscious smart phone, these questions are vital.

Also, try to find a model with multiple features. On the surface, it may sound like a smart phone with multiple features would be less eco-friendly, but the more features a smart phone can perform, the less need there is for other devices. And the fewer electronics you own, the lighter the impact upon the planet.