Reintroducing: Fairphone’s Reuse & Recycle Program
We have relaunched our Reuse and Recycle Program. There are a lot of resources in your old smartphones and we want to make sure we make the most out of them, all the while keeping the environmental impact low and your benefits high. While the old program allowed people to send in their old phones to be reused or recycled, the new program will offer incentives to our community, such as a true market value for their products based on make, model and condition. There’s more to it, of course, but we can’t give away everything in the first paragraph. So read on to learn more about our new and improved Reuse and Recycle Program.
We have talked about electronic waste being one of the fastest-growing waste streams on the planet – in 2019 a striking 53.6 Mt of e-waste was created with European citizens contributing around 16kg per person. Globally only 17% of electronic waste (or e-waste) is documented to be collected for recycling, leaving roughly 83% of e-waste undocumented and ending up in shoe boxes or landfills – materials worth around USD 56 billion get lost every year. Additionally, it is estimated that 7-20% of e-waste is set up to be illegally exported, ending up in countries with limited resources and recycling infrastructure – often developing countries – causing enormous health and environmental problems.
It’s not new news that we encourage our community to use their phones as long as possible – the longer a product is used, the fewer new products we need to manufacture and the fewer resources we use. However, we are aware that eventually all life must come to an end and that includes smartphones when they can not be reused anymore. Only in that case does Fairphone send those phones to a responsible recycling partner to recover as many resources as possible. It’s important to note that in the best-case scenario, only 30-50% of materials are able to be recovered – causing us to lose valuable resources – when we opt for recycling instead of reusing.
We are committed to reducing e-waste and there are three loops that we will consider when doing so:
- We are researching the possibility of optimizing our resource use by offering a phone-as-a-service option, in which the user buys the service of using a phone instead of buying the phone itself.
- We aim to encourage consumers to return their unused phones as soon as possible, by incentivizing phone take-back in our European markets and enabling reuse before recycling.
- We support responsible recycling of old phones from countries with a lack of recycling infrastructure. In the short-term, this means recycling phones from countries with limited recycling infrastructure in Europe, and in the medium term, it means supporting efficient value creation from e-waste.Read more about our recycling program here >>
A second chance at life
We have a lot of goals here at Fairphone and we take strides every day to achieve those goals and deliver on our promise of offering you a fair and sustainable smartphone. We do this to care not only for the people involved in all aspects of making our phones, but for the phone itself. No, we aren’t giving our phones personalities or humanizing them, but they deserve to be cared for and not discarded to a shoebox or landfill when we are done with them.
In order for us to continue our commitment to reuse end-of-use products and recycle e-waste, our community is the key. We want to motivate consumers in Europe to hand in their unused phones to our Reuse and Recycle Program and give them a second chance at life, where possible. If a second life isn’t possible, we encourage people to still recycle their old phones. As always, we will do this in a responsible manner and ensure it is fair for people and the planet.
To further encourage consumers to send us their old phones, we have added an option to receive a discount on future purchases of Fairphone products. This discount can be used on all of our products from accessories to spare parts and phones, giving you greater flexibility and choice. As an added bonus, we are able to expedite the time it takes to deliver the discount code! All thanks to better efficiencies and more automation, you could receive this code in less than a week from when you sent us your device. Now, that’s quick!
In a nutshell, we always strive to reuse old products first and when that’s not possible, we recycle. To find out who can participate and the steps needed to recycle your phone or give it a second life, head over to our Reuse and Recycle Program page.