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Sustainability E-Waste: New Life For Old Phones

UK households have accumulated an estimated 24 million unused smartphones with a collective value of more than £1 billion over the last three years, according to new research by Deloitte.

Its Digital Consumer Trends survey of 4,160 consumers found that two in five phone buyers hold on to their old phones when they upgrade to newer models. Deloitte estimates that in 2022 alone this will add up to seven million smartphones with an average trade-in value of £75 and a total value of over £500 million.

Even so, less than half (45%) of traded in phones are sold, recycled or given away. In the UK, just 17% of phones in use were purchased second-hand, compared to 82% that were bought new.

Emily Cromwell, environmental, social and governance lead for the consumer industry at Deloitte, said: “It is important that refurbished or used phones are no longer viewed as lesser devices, but as cheaper, greener alternatives. Providing incentives to recycle devices will not only put extra pounds in consumer pockets, but also lengthen the lifecycle of the device across more owners and improve its carbon footprint.”


In Deloitte’s survey, 18% of those who bought a new phone said they did so because new was ‘more exciting’. This certainly applies to the METAVERTU, the world’s first Web3.0 smartphone. With seamless toggling between Web2.0 and Web3.0 modes, Vertu claims its new flagship 5G mobile will enable users to enjoy instantaneous NFT generation, self-contained peer-to-peer encrypted communication and a curated range of DAPP applications. Owners can customise their phone with a variety of luxury materials, including diamond detailing, gold finishes and platinum additions. Prices start at £2,909 for an entry-level METAVERTU in carbon fibre.

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