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Delivering a zero e-waste circular economy

Published date: December 2020

We are in a great era of technological advancement and technology is an important part of our life. We have gadgets of all kinds - from our appliances to our phones or laptops. 

Most mobile phones are kept for less than 3 years and traded in before anything goes wrong with them. Many people have a ‘tech drawer’ at home full of devices that they will never use again. 

The amount of e-waste generated worldwide set a record last year: 53.6 million metric tons of discarded phones, appliances, laptops, and other gadgets, according to a report. It’s also a 21% increase since 2014 and it’s expected to almost double from 2014 levels by 2030.  The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 found that Europe had the highest rate of e-waste per capita (with 16.2kg per capita) and had the highest rate of collection (42.5%) and recycling its waste. 

The increasing levels of e-waste, low collection rates, and environmentally unsound disposal and treatment of this waste stream pose significant risks to the environment and to human health. Also, improper management of e-waste contributes to global warming. 

E-waste contains several precious, critical, and other materials that, if recycled, can be used as secondary materials. The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 showed that the value of raw materials in 2019 is equal to approximately $57 billion USD. 

Many of our e-waste ends up in Asia or Africa landfills. E-waste management in Africa is dominated by thriving informal sector collectors and recyclers in most countries, the report says, and the handling of e-waste is often processed in backyards by manual stripping to remove electronics boards for resale, open burning of wires to recover few major components, etc. 

We encourage you to be part of the solution and help reduce electronic waste. Let’s keep our electronic waste as far away from landfills as possible.

20 for you and 20 for the planet


Our partner Fairphone started building a movement for fairer electronics back in 2013 as an independent social enterprise. Fairphone designs and produces modular smartphones that are easy to repair and long-lasting. But their work is not only reduced to the production of more environmentally friendly smartphones but also they’re trying to give a voice to people, improving job satisfaction for workers in the industry. Besides, Fairphone has developed a free recycling program in Europe where devices can get a second life.

Fairphone’s e-waste approach includes engaging with other parties such as Closing the Loop to recover phones from countries where recycling support is needed most. Closing the Loop collects discarded phones in developing countries and ensures that the devices are recycled responsibly. Their target is to recycle 20,000 phones in 2020. 

Fairphone will recycle 20 old handsets if you buy a Fairphone 3 or Fairphone 3+ from The Phone Co-op between the 13th and the 31st of December. The customer can decide to either receive a cashback payment of £40 or choose for a £20 cashback and we will recycle 20 old mobile phones on top. The £20 will go to the Closing the Loop e-waste program.

If your phone no longer works, send it on a new adventure. And make sure you choose Fairphone as your next smartphone, we offer this world-leading handset with a variety of mobile deals for both personal and business customers.


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