Earth Day - 22 April 2020

April 21, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  22 April 2020 is a day to celebrate and support environmental protection.  For the past few years I have been working on a project, Unbroken, about reuse and repair and its importance to help create a more sustainable world.  The focus is primarily on people and groups providing solutions, the repairers and activists helping to improve things. Restricted by the covid-19 lockdown and as a diversion, this series of images, looks at the upstream impact.  

We create 50 million tonnes of e-waste each year, but have no real appreciation of the environmental impact upstream, in the processes used to make all those devices we eventually throw away.  

One small phone, one big impact

One phone, 35 kg of earth and stones, 40-50 litres of liquid waste, before you open the boxOne phone, 35 kg of earth and stones, 40-50 litres of liquid waste, before you open the box

Your typical ‘smart’ phone weighs around 160 grams.  It contains lots of components, made of different materials.  The components are produced with materials that are processed from ores that are mined.   So, that 160 gram phone requires about 30kg (30,000 grams) of the earth to be mined to make its components.   When the mined ores are processed it creates around 85kg (85,000 grams) of solid and liquid waste.  That’s 99.8% waste before that phone has even been used. And that processing uses lots of energy, over 100 kg of CO2 equivalent.  To compensate for that would need around 10-15 trees to be planted. That’s for just one phone, and before you’ve even opened the box.  Something to think about this Earth Day.  Keep your phone.  Look after it.  Repair it.  Make it last longer. Help save the planet.
 


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