Yes people, the day has come. *Drums roll*. I have bought a new phone! New? Yes, entirely new. This is something that I almost never do since it’s not the most sustainable, zero waste or minimalistic option. Then why did I buy this new phone? That’s what I’ll be telling you today. Why did I buy a Fairphone?
Why Did I Need Another Phone?
My philosophy was always: if my phone breaks, I’ll get it repaired. This would mean that I’d have the same phone all my life. That would be amazing! But for the phone I had, an iPhone 4, that didn’t work. The phone belonged to my mom first and she gave it to my brother when she bought a new phone. And when he bought a new phone it was given to me. I’ve had it myself for 4 years now, since 2014. I’ve had it fixed once before but since a few months I am done with it. After an hour of frequent use the battery would die (that left me standing at a train station in the middle of the night with no-one to call one day), the camera was complete sh*t and the worst thing: Apple no longer supports the software. I couldn’t update apps and I also couldn’t download new ones. This makes using the phone very unsafe. It was time for a replacement.
Secondhand or New
When I searched for a phone I had two options: secondhand or new. I do need it and I can’t lend it. Secondhand is always my first choice when I buy something since it is the most sustainable choice. And still, this time I chose to buy new. If I buy a secondhand phone again I’ll have the same problem I had: the battery will go bad and the software won’t be update at one point. Apple does this very tactical, they keep making me buy another phone. I decided that I wanted one phone for my entire life. And that’s why I decided to buy a new phone. I knew that this option was available, by buying a Fairphone.
Why The Fairphone?
I bought a Fairphone 2! This phone has that one specific feature which made me decide to buy it: it’s modular. Moduwhat? Modular means that you take the phone apart yourself and also repair it yourself. If a part of the phone breaks you can just buy that specific part (and sent the old one to Fairphone for recycling) and replace it instead of buying an entire new phone.
‘A modular system is a construction of which all parts are replaceable with different models. Also called a unit assembly system’Wikipedia
Phone For A Lifetime
That means that a modular phone can be used a lifetime. At least, that’s what Fairphone claims, no one knows what’ll happen in the future. I decided to buy this phone so that I never have to buy another one. Also, I bought Fairphone because I want to support sustainable brands. Fairphone is not known very well so when I buy it and people see my phone this will spread awareness. It makes people think and I can tell the story behind it. If I bought a secondhand Apple phone I would not be able to have this impact.
Why Not An Old Nokia?
I’ve seriously thought about it: buying an old Nokia. Very minimalistic. You can call, make pictures and send text messages. All you need right? I will always be available but won’t be so consumed by my phone like everybody is these days. Sounds great! However, my boyfriend and parents didn’t agree with this. They want me to have a smartphone (and will buy one for me if I don’t do it myself). I then also thought about it myself. I want to use social media better. I want to share more about my blog on there and I want to be inspired by other people. I could care less about the posts about a fun party, but I do want to read about people’s experiences concerning zero waste, veganism, slow fashion, minimalism etc. These posts help me grow and give me energy! It’s time to be inspired and inspire others as well. I can only do that with a smartphone.
Finding A Sustainable Smartphone
I knew the brand Fairphone. I thought it was most sustainable and that there would be no brand that does things better. However, I did some research to make sure I didn’t miss anything. Via Rank A Brand you search for the most sustainable brand in a specific category. In the category electronics Fairphone was listed highest, it has a B-label (it goes from A-F, A being the best). Apple was second to my surprise, it has a C label on Rank A Brand. I also read this report from Greenpeace. They confirmed Rank A Brand, Fairphone is the most sustainable choice.
What Makes The Fairphone Sustainable
First, I would like to say that I find it hard to compare Fairphone to other brands. They’re unique is so many ways. Like I said, the phone is modular. This alone makes them very unique from all the other brands. At other brands you usually can’t repair a phone, it’s tricky or expensive. You’re then advised to buy a new phone. I find that businessmodel disgusting, it ruins the planet. The very core of Fairphone is sustainable. But then another thing, the phone isn’t called Fairphone for nothing. It literally is a fair phone. Fairphone is changing the electronics industry by only using conflict-free materials and they pay their workers a fair paycheck. Conflict-free materials? Yes. Minerals usually have to be mined or exploited another way. This usually happens in countries where the working conditions are horrible and there is mass corruption. Often young children work in the mines and the working conditions are horrible. The corruption can lead to civil wars. Maybe you’ve seen the movie Blood Diamond. If you haven’t, you should see it. Conflict-free materials are exploited in a sustainable and fair way. People get a fair paycheck and the working conditions are good. Fairphone only uses these materials when they need to because they try to use recycled materials as much as they can. They’re transparant about their production proces, you can all find it on their website. They even are transparant about the price buildup from the phone. Fairphone uses only renewable energy where possible, but I don’t find that more than normal in 2018. The Fairphone 2 costs 529 euros. I don’t think that’s a lot for the story the company has. The newest iPhones are much more expensive.
There is so much to tell about this phone and this blogpost is getting very long. For now I’d say: check out the Fairphone website, it holds a lot of additional information.
Using The Fairphone
Well, if you go from an old iPhone 4 to the Fairphone 2, you’re overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I can do so much with my phone again! I can listen to podcasts, make pictures, use social media, etc. The list goes on. The phone runs on Android and so that is something I have to get used to still. The battery lasts very long, if I use it frequently then it lasts me about 10 hours. The charging does take a very long time, 5 hours with the charger I have. Maybe it’s the charger but for now I am fine with this. You can choose different colors for the phone. I chose to have a transparant design. It looks very cool and I really think it fits the message from Fairphone.
A little fun fact which I found amazing: the phone was delivered without a charger. I thought this was weird at first, did I miss anything? I looked on the website and there it was explained. The opening for the charger (or how do you call that hole) is pretty universal and so the chance is very big that you already have a charger which fits in your home. In most cases it would therefore be a sin to send along a charger. And they were right! I had a charger in my home that fit. They have thought about everything!
Update: I currently don’t have the Fairphone anymore. After 1,5 years I finally gave up. Why? You can read all about that in this post.