Is there such a thing as sustainable phone use?

Sustainable phone upgrades: A beginner’s guide

We understand your conundrum: you want the latest tech but also don’t want it to hurt planet earth. You specifically want to know that your phone isn’t making things worse for the environment. 

Making your lifestyle more sustainable is no longer a luxury – it’s completely vital. 

The good news is, by joining Raylo you’re making your phone upgrades greener than ever. We’ve designed our subscription service to be as low-impact as possible, right down to our recyclable boxes and the plant-based, compostable phone case we give you. 

A more sustainable approach to phone upgrades IS possible. We’ve just had to shake things up a bit.

Mobile phones v sustainability

There’s no way around it: there are some glaring problems when it comes to mobile phones and sustainability. In the UK, phone ownership is overwhelmingly the norm – and we think this is part of the problem. 95% of UK households own a mobile phone. 7.6 million iPhones were bought in the UK in 2017, and those numbers rise each year. On average users replace their phone every two years.

The reality is that the vast majority of us are encouraged to upgrade our phones regularly, as part of the contract we’re on. We’ve paid for the phone, and it’s now fully ours: and as soon as our new upgrade arrives, we pop it in a drawer and forget about it. In fact, there are a staggering 125 million phones sitting in drawers. While we’re enjoying our new phone, the old one is left gathering dust forever.

So what? Why does it matter if your spare room is choc-a-bloc with old phones? Well, by keeping your devices in use for longer, you significantly reduce their environmental impact.

When phones end up in drawers, it removes them from circulation. Rather than a 2 year old device finding a new home – and meeting someone else’s need for it – it’s left in limbo, and could eventually end up as part of the 50 million tonnes of annual e-waste.  

Manufacturing new phones is resource-intensive, and the embodied carbon emissions of new devices add up fast. So it’s good that they are lasting longer and makes it possible to be reused and for a circular economy to exist.

The greenest phone is the one which isn’t languishing in your junk drawer. Usually these are still exceptionally good phones which can be cleaned up, refurbished and given a new lease of life with a different owner. It’s just a hassle to organise, and if it takes too long the phone’s no longer as desirable.

Herein lies the problem for sustainability and phones. We simply cannot go on making and discarding phones at the rate we do if we give a fig about the planet we’re on. 

But does that mean we have to forfeit the latest tech altogether? We don't think so.


Subscription phones are greener phones

At Raylo, our model is designed to give you the best of both worlds – delivering a shiny new upgrade to your door every 24 months while minimising your phone’s eco-impact.

This is at the core of why we’re doing things differently. It’s not just about bringing you the latest iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max at a considerably lower cost than a typical contract. It’s about creating a circular economy where when you’re done with your phone it gets a second lease of life.  

Subscription allows you to get your latest phone, with the all-important insurance included. By sending your old phone back to us in the recyclable packaging we provide, you’re ensuring it’s re-homed or recycled if that’s not possible. That means the virtuous circle keeps on turning – you get the next latest model from us, and your old phone gets its life extended.

It’s true: we cannot make the phone manufacturing process greener. That side of things is up to the tech companies and their suppliers. But we can make radical changes to the way you get your hands on the latest iPhone 11 Pro, building sustainability into your 24-month upgrade cycle as standard.

Plus, we’re the greener choice in other ways. Let’s look at the details.


The Pela Case – plants, not plastic

The Raylo Pela iPhone 11 Pro Case

When you get your phone with Raylo, you also get a plant-based, fully compostable Pela case. These are the world’s first 100% zero waste cases, and they also look and feel great. Just as important, they’re also excellent at protecting your fabulous new phone too.

Just by making this small change, you’re having a big impact. For every 10 people who join Raylo, we estimate that 1 kg of plastic won’t be entering the waste stream.

Our mission doesn’t stop there though. 

Plastic Oceans UK

It matters to us that we consider sustainability across all of our business practices. We have to take real tangible action not just with our service, but in our ethos and outlook too.

That’s why we support Plastic Oceans UK. They’re determined to stop UK plastic waste getting into our oceans. But they can’t do it without support. That’s why we’ve pledged to make a donation to them for every customer who signs up with us. Your choice of a Raylo phone is actively helping to support the sustainability practices they encourage through education, awareness raising projects and more.

Certified B Corporation  

Raylo has become part of the B Corp movement for a more sustainable and inclusive economy. This means we’ve been recognised for our commitment to sustainable practice, and that we pledge to balance our needs as a business with our environment ethics.


Sustainable phone use – you choose today

Yes: you can make more sustainable choices when it comes to your phone. All it takes is a change of perspective. Find out more about how we do sustainable mobile phones.


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