Never Buy a New Phone

Everyone gets excited when the new iPhone comes out, and there always seems to be a race to be the first one to own it, but do you really understand the consequences? Here is a list of five reasons why you should never buy a new phone.

  1. You can buy used phones. People don’t realize that you don’t need to buy new phones at full price. There’s a lot of folks out there that sell their perfectly good old phones because they themselves want to buy a more updated one. Those are the kind of people you want to be taking advantage of. Used phones usually work just as good as new ones, and they’re a fraction of the price.

  2. E-waste dumps. Rich countries such as the USA have been increasing the practice of dumping their electronic waste (phones, computers, etc) in massive dumps in countries like Ghana. Not only do these pollutants leach into the surrounding area, contaminating drinking water, but most of the e-waste is burned, emitting dangerous gases that can cause severe sickness. This practice is basically an extension of colonialism that set the entire continent of Africa behind the developing world, and like it or not, you’re supporting it by buying a new phone.

  3. Pollutants. Making a new phone uses as much energy as it would to operate a phone for ten years. Keeping your old phone for a few more years and buying a used one can significantly decrease your personal carbon footprint. Phones are also made with many heavy metals which, when not disposed of properly, can lead to serious consequences for the environment and human health.

  4. Mining. Those same heavy metals that can cause so much harm are mined from the ground, often using dangerously antiquated practices. Cobalt, a common component of lithium ion batteries, is particularly problematic. An estimated 100,000 workers in the Congo use hand tools to dig for cobalt. The working conditions are dangerous, and death is common. By buying new phones, you are perpetuating these practices. 

  5. Money. A new iPhone 11 costs roughly $700. Not many people really have enough disposable income to afford buying a new phone with the frequency that they do. The problem is, phone companies are so good at marketing that we buy them anyways. Even if you do have that disposable income, your money could be spent on much better things. Mosquito nets that protect children from Malaria-carrying insects cost roughly $2. Instead of buying a new phone, you could potentially be saving 350 children's lives from Malaria.

Our tendency to buy a new phone every time they come out is incredibly harmful to ourselves and the world around us, particularly when we have the option to buy used phones for a fraction of the price. We can either continue buying into the marketing strategies set forth by massive corporations, and by doing so, supporting unsafe working conditions, colonialism, and continued environmental degradation, or, we can stop listening to the capitalistic raucous and set ourselves on a path for a brighter future.