Nowadays, new smartphones come out almost every year. Some people line up and camp out to get their hands on the latest update right away. Others may wait a few months, but it’s almost inevitable that they will eventually trade in their old phone for a new and improved one. The quick turnover in smartphones is mostly due to two factors: planned obsolescence and contract luring.

Planned obsolescence is when technology is designed to degrade faster in order to drive up demand, thus, profits. Because of the way smartphones are put together with glue, it’s impossible for people to simply change out a worn-down battery. Plus, contract luring makes buying a completely new phone more ideal, anyways. Sadly, this constant upgrade cycle has a serious impact on the environment.

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Around 54m tonnes of electronic waste, also known as “e-waste,” was generated in 2019. Most e-waste is dumped or burned, rather than being recycled, which is extremely harmful to the environment and the health of people who live near and work near it. A survey by ecoATM Gazelle found that only 25% of Americans recycle electronic devices. A lot of e-waste is also improperly recycled, which can cause fires in recycling plants.

Source: CBS This Morning/YouTube

Because smartphones require “the polluting extraction of irreplaceable elements like gold, cobalt or lithium,” 80% of the environmental devastation from smartphones comes from the creation process. Thus, most of the environmental damage could be avoided if our cell phones lasted longer and we were encouraged to use them until they stopped working. Sadly, smartphone companies are motivated by profits, and thus, they intentionally make their phones go bad quickly and encourage people to get upgrades often. Fortunately, France is considering new regulations that would eliminate early renewal or upgrading of smartphones in exchange for customers signing a new contract with a provider.

Sign this petition to tell the French Government to greenlight proposed regulations that would fight this wasteful cycle!

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To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

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