Australia Leads First World Phone Amnesty To Boost Circular Economy

Bali, Indonesia, June  29, 2020: Group of iphone 7 It has been used on a table with a wooden texture, top view. iphone products.

Australia will lead the first-ever World Phone Amnesty, a global movement to transform mobile phone ownership behaviour, curb carbon emissions, and reduce the number of devices being discarded every year – billions.

Approximately 83 per cent of a phone’s carbon emissions come from manufacturing, shipping and first-year usage. Keeping a smartphone in use for an extra two years can reduce its CO2 impact by 43 per cent.

The rising cost of living, coupled with an interest in sustainable alternatives and phone durability, is prompting a change in the way people manage their devices. Australians are ready to make the change, with a study showing 41 per cent of households are willing to purchase a second-hand phone.

The World Phone Amnesty is a year of action to generate global awareness and drive device circulation, highlighting the point that there is a better way to own your phone through easy behavioural change. From now on, when you buy a new phone, simply hand in your old one to give it a new life.

Around the world, an extraordinary total of at least 5.3 billion phones are prematurely discarded every year, part of an estimated annual total of 50 million tonnes of e-waste – the equivalent weight of all the commercial aircraft ever made.

The Amnesty has the potential to revolutionise our consumption of mobile phones by amplifying awareness of the benefits of handing in your old one when you get a new one. It was developed by Kingfisher, an international mobile experience company leading the way to create sustainable solutions for the telco industry.

Kingfisher has developed a way to embrace a more sustainable form of device ownership via the “circular economy”, pioneering the world’s first circular model for mobile phones, which extends their lifespan through a one-for-one exchange. It means consumers can buy the latest devices and know that their old phones will be given a new home and used to their full potential.

“Today, phones are designed to last longer than ever, for seven or eight years. The longer lifespan means phones can have three or more owners, rather than ending up in a drawer or landfill,” Georgiann Reigle, Kingfisher co-founder and CEO, said.

“It is unrealistic to expect consumers to use a single device for that long. But while we understand the desire to own a new phone, the World Phone Amnesty highlights the benefits of extending the lifecycles of all the other ones, in order to maximise the potential of each device to reduce its carbon footprint.”

In Australia, although 35 per cent of households own at least one second-hand device, the benefits of putting phones back into circulation before discarding or recycling isn’t well understood. The simple act of handing in a mobile phone, giving it a second, third and fourth life, is proven to create significant impact.

The statistics underpinning the urgency of the World Phone Amnesty are staggering:

  • Globally, almost 180 million used mobile devices will be sold in the circular economy in 2023, while approximately one billion will be sent to landfill and billions more will be left in drawers, closets, cupboards or garages, tossed into waste bins, or headed for incineration.
  • In 2023, there are 6.92 billion smartphone users – 85.95 per cent of the world’s population.
  • Each year, 5.3 billion phones are thrown away – which placed end-to-end would stretch to the moon and back.*
  • 81kg of carbon dioxide is produced for every brand new phone created – that’s enough carbon dioxide to fill 40,000 balloons.
  • A second-life phone used for two years creates 24.6kg CO2e less carbon emissions per year compared to a new phone used for three years.
  • Extending the life of a device removes the need to extract 82kg of raw materials associated with the production of a new one.

Kingfisher will launch the World Phone Amnesty at SXSW Sydney (October 15-20), the annual tech and innovation event which brings together inspired thinkers, creators, business leaders and industries in consumer electronics and other fields.

The World Phone Amnesty web portal offers Australians a comprehensive resource for trading in or upgrading their mobile phones. Its immersive and engaging features will inform, educate and empower every smartphone user to make a difference over the next 12 months by showcasing what happens to their old phone when they get a new one and highlighting alternative forms of phone use and ownership.

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