Why Adding Your Old Phone to Your Mobile Plan Can Be A “Green” Choice


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Smartphones have a huge carbon footprint. A recent study found that the energy consumption of a smartphone will be more than desktops and laptops by 2020. The problem isn’t in the energy they use — 85% of a smartphone’s emissions impact comes from production, and the precious metal used in their hardware is mined at high energy costs. Add in the energy from the data centers they rely on to send text messages and stream videos and that sliver of glass and plastic in your hand could have a major impact on the environment.

Cell phone providers and manufacturers encourage us to upgrade our devices every year or two, and we often trade in perfectly good phones to have the latest and greatest model. In reality, most smartphones can last five or six years with proper care.

While there are plenty of options for recycling smartphones, the best way to limit their impact is through reuse. You can donate them to charity or sell them, but the smartest thing to do is to hang on to them and get as much use as possible before recycling. How can you reuse your old phone? Consider the following three options.

Use it as a backup

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When you get a new phone, keep your old one as a backup. While you might get some money off your new device if you trade in the old one, having a backup in case you lose or damage your phone can be useful. An extra also means you won't need to pay insurance for your new phone, which can cut down on your monthly bill. Most carriers will let you keep it on your plan for just a monthly line fee — or in some cases, no fee at all — and add data only when you need it.

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