The biggest environmental impact in the lifecycle of a smartphone is caused by its production process and raw materials like the mining of the dozens needed precious metals. The average lifespan of a smartphone is about three years, so extending the lifetime reduces the environmental impact significantly. Telia Recycled smartphone reduces the need for producing new phones, causing e.g less CO2 emissions, electronic waste and need for new materials.
Together with Telia Recycled product family it is also important for Telia to encourage consumers to recycle their old electronics, like phones. In Finland, about two million new phones are sold each year, and only a fraction of old devices ends up in recycling. We are running several campaigns aiming to collect used phones from the consumers. The collected phones will either be refurbished and given a new life as Telia Recycled phone or recycled. Recycling is very important because 99 % of phone materials can be recycled.
Popularity of Telia Recycled phones grew by 50 % in comparison to the pilot 2019.Telia also collected thousands of phones from consumers of which significant part got a new life as Telia Recycled phones.
The Recycled product range will be expanded during 2021 to cover more phone models and other devices. Telia will also continue to increase the collecting and refurbishing of smart phones and other devices.
Telia collects used phones from consumers via Vaihtodiili process where we provide customers with compensation when returning old phones to us. Returned phones are refurbished by our certified partners before they end up for resale for example as Telia Recycled phones. Telia also refurbishes used service phones which return to Telia from our business customers. Consumers can purchase Recycled phone from Telia online store and Telia Shops.
In autumn 2020, Telia Recycled container (Telia Recycled -kierrätyskontti) made a tour around Finland with a purpose to raise awareness on recycling and the importance of getting phones recycled either for reuse or material recycling. Boosted by the Telia Recycled tour, in 2020 we collected as part of producer responsibility a total of 1,300 kilos of so-called data-SER waste (electrical and electronic equipment containing memory) from our customers for secure recycling, more than double the amount than in 2019. This initiative was so well received that its story will continue in 2021 in the form of a new tour.
Very interesting idea which has an additional appeal as it can make people save money and earn cash back while doing good for the planet. It can be replicated by other companies and countries, which makes it even more exciting. As it gains more scale, its potential impact will also grow by increasing its market share while decreasing the number of new phones bought every year. This Planet Act also has social impacts, besides being a good case of a circular economy business model.
This great initiative has the potential to grow very successful financially, due to the fact that:
- It embraces circular economy
- It teaches customers how to repair their own devices
- Is a cost saving solution for the company
- Even the price might go up, it still meets the needs and mental values of consumers, to prefer them vs others
Highly replicable wherever materials and R&D budget allows it, this is why I am giving it a relatively lower score, no matter the industry
This Planet act shows how refurbished phones can be made widely available to existing and new customers and reuse be increased. This reduces environmental impacts and positions reused products as viable alternatives to new phones. This enables customers to experience and receive increasing value from their choices and to participate in recycling of obsolete electronic products. This act is scalable for businesses offering products that can be reused or recycled.