Brits want their next smartphone to be environmentally conscious

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Smartphone manufacturers that commit to being eco-friendly are likely to be rewarded by consumers, according to a new study, which suggests sustainability and the environment are increasingly important considerations when buying a new handset.

A survey by PiplSay found 72% of British consumers are “excited” about Samsung’s recent pledge to use recycled material in its products and to remove disposable plastic from its packaging by 2025.

Four fifths believe brands should set strict environmental targets and act more responsibly and 71% say they would proactively purchase from vendors that take positive environmental action.

Smartphone sustainability

Of all manufacturers, Samsung is seen as the one that the public considers to be the most committed towards sustainability (35%), with Apple second (29%). However, it should also be noted that 30% were not aware of any eco-friendly initiative.

Samsung’s announcement is the latest in a series of pledges made by manufacturers, operators, and other firms to reduce the environmental impact of the mobile industry. These include recycling and trade-in programmes, renewable energy use, the right to repair, and not shipping devices with a charger by default.

Every new device manufactured generates carbon emissions across the supply chain and requires the mining of precious metals. If older handsets aren’t resold, recycled, or are disposed of irresponsibly, then emissions will rise, waste will increase, and hazardous materials could be released into the environment.

A separate study by BT earlier this week found that four fifths of people have unused electronic items in cupboards, drawers, or bin bags, while 74% have admitted to sticking devices in regular household waste destined for landfill. Just over half (55%) engage in “wishful recycling” and put e-Waste in the recycling bin and hope for the best.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.