GLOBAL – Why should we bother with so-called ‘eco-phones’ when using a cell phone makes only the tiniest contribution to global emissions? Talking for three minutes on a cell phone has about the same impact as mailing a small letter, written on recycled paper.
Sustainability is at the core of Nokia’s way of doing business:
Making cell phones environmentally friendly is about more than just producing a bit of eco-bling. Our approach at Nokia is that we continuously improve the environmental credentials of all our products, instead of introducing one-off “green” phones. This means new materials, energy-saving features and chargers with lowest standby power of these devices. The new feature-rich devices can also replace other gadgets, such as cameras and music players. For the environment, it makes a big difference whether you buy, use and charge multiple devices or just an all-in-one device.
We use life cycle assessment to calculate the environmental impact of our products and processes, including the entire mobile device life cycle, from raw material acquisition to the end of the product life. The impact is reported in terms of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and is split between the different device life cycle phases, i.e. creating, using and recycling.
We have reduced the environmental impact by making continuous improvements at every front, creating more energy efficient phones and chargers, reducing substances of concerns, implementing changes in manufacturing and logistics operations and processes, and so on. Now let’s take a look at the environmental life of a mobile phone – looking at Nokia’s greenest smartphone to date, the Nokia 700.
This Nokia recycling point in South Africa is one of the 6,000 drop-off boxes around the world as part of Nokia’s recycling scheme
Cell phones are made from valuable resources. As mobile phones have a number of different metals in them (including gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, tin, and zinc), recycling conserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Metals, plastics, and rechargeable batteries from recycled cell phones are turned into new materials and products – including plastic components for new electronic devices or other plastic products such as garden furniture, license plate frames, non-food containers, and replacement automotive parts. If every mobile phone user recycled just one unused phone, together we would save nearly 240,000 tons of raw material.
Like all other Nokia devices, the Nokia 700 is free of substances like PVC, brominated flame retardants (BFR), and brominated and chlorinated compounds and antimony trioxide (RFR). It’s also made with materials like bio plastics, recycled plastics and recycled metals. The use of biomaterials reduces the dependency of crude oil-based raw materials and paves the way for more sustainable industry practices.
In the old days you charged your phone for hours and could talk for about 15 minutes. Devices now have talk times of up to nine hours, and stand-by times of up to a week. But there are still millions of people around the world leaving their chargers plugged in, pointlessly sucking up energy.
Nokia chargers bleep when the phone is fully charged and we were the first manufacturer to tell you to unplug the charger. Over the last decade, Nokia has reduced the average no-load power consumption of its chargers by over 80%, and the best-in-class chargers by over 95%.
We all want the brightest screens. The Nokia 700 has an AMOLED screen, an ambient light sensor and a power-save mode, to make the phone as energy efficient as possible.
With Nokia you can use locally stored maps that reduce energy consumption on mobile networks and energy overheads in server farms. The possibility to download software updates allows you to always have a better performance, as well as the latest features.
Packaging and transport:
Most of us don’t think about what box our phone comes in, or how it reached the store or our doorstep in the first place – but packaging and transport have been transformed in recent years.
Nokia packaging is 100% recyclable, and we have reduced our paper consumption by 240.000 tons between 2005 and 2010 simply by using compact packing. Basically, this translates to far fewer trucks on the road.
End of Life:
It’s sad, but let’s be honest: there will come a time when you want to replace your cell phone with a newer model. In the US in 2009, approximately 38% of all the cell phones that were handed in for recycling were reused or refurbished, and 62% were recycled for their materials. Like every Nokia, the Nokia 700 is made out of materials that can be 100% recovered at the end of its life, so nothing is wasted.
When you do want to buy your new handset, you can take your old phone to Nokia Care Points and selected Nokia stores. And with 6,000 Nokia collection points in almost 100 countries – there’s no excuse for not doing it.