The global footprint of mobiles

The average mobile made this year produced 35 kg of carbon emissions in manufacture, equal to 16 weeks of laundry. Sound small?1

Well 1.9 billion mobiles will be sold in 2015, approximately 60 per second. Their total carbon footprint in manufacture is equal to Austria's annual carbon footprint.2

All of us can help reduce the impact of mobiles, by simply using them for longer. (We can also ask for more efficient design and manufacture.)If we used every phone manufactured this year for only 1/3 longer, we could prevent carbon emissions equal to Singapore's annual emissions.3

  1. This figure is an average of carbon footprints from 5 manufacturers of 16 mobile models, including some non-smartphones. N.b. there is no standard for carbon footprinting, or “life cycle analysis”. Review and/or contribute. One week of laundry (three machine washes 40 degrees C, line dried) is roughly equal to 2.1 kg of carbon emissions. Source: Mike Berners-Lee, via The Guardian.
  2. Gartner estimate of the number of mobiles sold in 2015. Austria emissions data from World Databank, dated 2011.
  3. These emissions savings would occur three years from now, assuming new purchases are displaced. Same sources as above.