Using more recycled materials

Increasing transparency of recycled sources

We want products to have a higher content of recycled materials. The truth is that there are a myriad of social and technical factors which make that integration difficult. At Fairphone, we believe in radical transparency. We want other parties to have that same approach. Our hope is that those who successfully crack the nut of recycled materials integration will show the rest how to do it.

The challenge

Claiming to use recycled materials is not enough; in the same fashion as we have done for primary sources (ie, mining), we need to open up the recycled materials supply chain. We need to uncover the environmental and social challenges faced within the chain, so that we can contribute to scaling up the availability of materials coming from responsible secondary sources (ie, recycling). With this research, we want to understand how materials get recycled and end up in products, while discovering social and environmental hotspots.

Our approach

While many materials deserve our attention, we decided to start with tin. We have already worked with the Conflict Free Tin Initiative to make sure that artisanal miners from high risk-areas like the DRC can benefit from their natural resources, and that trade is used to develop livelihoods instead of conflict and war. Such initiatives contribute to the availability of tin from safe primary sources – because we know that even in the transition to the circular economy and increased integration of recycled materials, we will still need to use materials coming from mines.

For this project we have partnered with Alpha Assembly Solutions. Our analysis will form the basis for the development of guidelines to define responsible recycling, and will give more information behind materials coming from recycled sources and how said materials are integrated into products.



25 July 2018 Project scope

Together with Alpha Assembly Solutions, we've developed the final scope of our research. Follow this page for updates and, soon, for our findings!

If you’re part of this industry, find the scope interesting and would like to participate either sponsoring or developing the research, please contact us at

Read more >

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