Earth Day 2022: 6 phone tricks to help you make a difference and be eco-friendly

April 22 is Earth Day, dedicated to raising awareness about climate change – and of course we probably shouldn’t set aside a single day for the greatest existential crisis of the human race, but that’s how the cookie apparently crumbles.

Many tech brands are coming out in full force to commit to caring for the environment, including Amazon singing and dancing about its sustainability efforts and Google devoting several Google Doodles to things like Kilimanjaro’s glacial retreat and bleaching. corals.

But it’s also worth thinking about the things we could do with our everyday technology to make a small difference for the planet. Of course, none of this will remotely compare to what big corporations could do in a heartbeat if they cared about the planet rather than profits, but if we keep all of this advice in mind, this might help…maybe? With a bit of luck?

Well it won’t hurt, this is the main. So here are 6 simple tips that could help the planet in a small way, starting small and expanding.

Reduce your battery consumption

You might think that what little electricity you might save each day by changing the way you use your smartphone won’t really make a difference in the grand scheme of things. But consider how often you use your phone and how many phones there are – it adds up quickly.

There are a few simple things you can change on your phone to reduce power consumption that we always recommend to people:

  • Enable dark mode (for OLED screens)
  • Stick to 4G, not 5G
  • Reduce the refresh rate of your screen
  • Use static and non-animated (moving) wallpapers
  • Do not use an always-on display

We have more tips in our guide on how to improve your smartphone battery life. But there are other ways to save power on your smartphone – make sure you don’t overcharge it (so don’t leave it plugged in when it’s at 100%) and just use it less. Do you really need to watch an entire movie on your commute, or could you look out the window at the beautiful Earth around us?

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Of course, it’s the smallest change you can make to protect the environment and reduce your energy consumption, but every little bit counts, right?

Oppo Find X5 Pro

(Image credit: future)

Buy eco-friendly accessories

Reducing our consumption is one of the key things we can do to help the planet – but this potentially poses a problem with accessories. If you buy a case, you could harm the planet, but if you don’t, you could break your smartphone and have to buy a whole new one, which is even worse.

Except that’s not so bad, because luckily there are loads of eco-friendly smartphone cases out there that keep you going when it comes to shopping for new gadgets. Our list has many different brands that are great options.

Some of the options on this list are simply made with sustainable materials, others use salvaged and recycled items in their bodies like fishing nets or ocean-sourced plastics.

Many crates are also compostable, so when you’re done with them, they don’t have to clutter the landfills.

Avoid buying new technology when possible

One of the worst things we can do for the planet is buy new gadgets. Each new smartphone is made up of parts that have been mined from the ground, then shipped to factories in other parts of the planet to be made into components, which are themselves shipped to other factories to be assembled, which which in turn has to find its way to the shelf or doorstep of your local store one way or another.

Every new gadget has many skeletons in its metaphorical closet, depending on the materials used to make it, the resources expended in its production, and the air miles used to take it on its journey around the world.

That means we need to avoid buying new gadgets as much as possible, to avoid the carbon footprint as much as possible, and also tell companies that we don’t need flashy, brand-new gadgets every year.

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That’s not to say you can’t have nice things – it’s just worth thinking smart about how you pick up your treats.

Sometimes you think you need to buy some new tech, because you broke your beloved gadget…but maybe you don’t.

Fairphone 4

(Image credit: future)

Repair, not replace

So you’ve dropped your smartphone and it’s broken – the screen now looks more like a cobweb than a nice flat screen. It’s time to buy a new device, isn’t it? Well no.

It is becoming easier, and also more affordable, to fix broken phones instead of replacing them. Many companies are getting better at providing third-party repair shops with the parts and knowledge needed to repair mobiles, a fact that has been boosted by legal changes in various countries.

So if you’ve damaged your phone, getting it repaired is easy – many phone repair shops only take a few hours to fix, depending on the damage. Plus, it means you don’t incur the large carbon footprint that comes with buying new.

Sometimes you don’t even need to rely on a store. Websites like iFixit have guides on how to repair damaged tech – and sometimes you don’t even need them. We get years of extra use from damaged gadgets just by buying a screen protector or a case to cover small cracks or breakage.

Pass on your old technology

If you absolutely must must buy a new gadget, don’t throw the old one away – just because you’re done with it doesn’t mean it’s finished. And that’s if you don’t want to find another use for it, which you certainly can, because we have a guide on ways to repurpose your old smartphone.

There may be someone in your life who could use your old technology. Seniors who aren’t tech savvy, or technophones who won’t use a gadget much, don’t necessarily need the latest and flashiest phone, and could easily make do with an Android or iPhone mobile years old or tablet.

If you don’t know anyone, do some research, as many charities take second-hand phones if you still have chargers. Many people, including underprivileged children or refugees, could see their lives greatly improved with a phone and all the possibilities it offers.

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And if your phone is beyond repair, there is still ways you can help the planet with. Handsets contain a lot of rare materials, so recycle them! If you just “recycle your smartphone” on Google, you can find places nearby that will accept your phone and extract the important stuff from it.

Teracube 2nd

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Buy smart

Not all new phones are created equal when it comes to their environmental friendliness – some companies seem to care about the planet, using sustainable materials and production practices, and others… don’t.

Greenpeace used to publish an annual guide to greener electronics – it hasn’t since 2017, and you can find it here, but it’s a useful indication of which brands to look for and which to avoid .

The two main manufacturers of eco-friendly phones are Fairphone in Europe and Teracube in the United States, and they make durable phones with sustainable materials and fair manufacturing processes. If you want green mobiles (sometimes literally, in the case of the Fairphone 4), they should be your first port of call.

You should also consider buying refurbished tech – these are used mobiles that have been professionally restored to look like new. If you buy from a trusted outlet, these can treat you as good as brand-new gadgets, but without the carbon footprint.

Even for consumer phones, some brands like to fuss about climate considerations. Apple and Samsung, in particular, take the time in their keynotes to discuss how their phones use sustainable materials for certain components, but it’s still a bit dubious how honest that is and how much this is just dishonest marketing.

But with just a little research, you can easily find which phones are better for the planet than others, and it can easily help your purchasing decision.

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