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Eco-Friendly Phone

We love our mobile phones and tablets! We are also aware of some environmental concerns associated with their rapid and consuming life cycle. How can we find an eco-friendly phone?

The Cell Phones Life Cycles

First, research and studies show that our communication devices are particularly impactful to the environment. Unfortunately, this observation is correct throughout the product life cycle, from the cradle to the grave:

  • Polluting extraction of minerals, acquisition of raw materials, and toxic substances
  • Design phase
  • Production, transportation, and delivery
  • Use of the devices. How much energy do they consume? How long do they last? Cell phones, for example, have a short life span of a couple of years.
  • End-of-life. What do we do with the recycling of complex telecommunication equipment containing hundreds of mixed materials?

Considering this sad reality, various legislators have enacted environmental regulations on smartphones, other phones, and tablets. Let us have a look at the main ones.

The Origin of an Eco-Friendly Phone Initiative

One more time, the European Union (EU) is leading the way in sustainable electronics. It is now the turn of cell phones and tablets to be eco-designed. Then, smartphones, mobile phones, and tablets join the list of devices under the scope of the EU Directive 2009/125/EC ecodesign requirements for electrical-related products that represent a significant volume of sales:

  • Displays;
  • External Power Supplies;
  • Electric motors;
  • Servers and data storage; And
  • Lighting equipment.

The EU Ecodesign Regulation for an Eco-Friendly Phone

Then, on June 16th, 2023, the European Union released Regulation 2023/1670 on ecodesign requirements for smartphones, mobile phones other than smartphones, cordless phones, and slate tablets under Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and amending Regulation (EU) 2023/826.

The Rules

In a nutshell, as of June 20th, 2025, smartphones and tablets must exhibit:

  • Design robustness: High resistance to drops, water, dust, and scratches to avoid early damaged devices;
  • Energy efficiency: with its score from A to G, A being the best in class. Energy efficiency appears before purchasing the device on an energy label. Additionally, the label will show the battery’s longevity. Nevertheless, batteries must endure 800 charges or more and discharge cycles while maintaining a residual capacity of at least 80% of their initial level.
  • The reparability score must also appear on the energy label. Nonetheless, rules regarding the disassembly and repair process stipulate that manufacturers must provide essential spare parts to repairers within 5 to 10 working days and continue this support for up to 7 years following the end of product model sales in the EU market.
  • The device lifespan includes the extended availability of operating system upgrades for at least five years after the product’s market release. Finally, professional repairers must have easy access to acquire any required software or firmware for replacement purposes.

Expected Benefits

The European Commission is anticipating massive environmental gains for the mobile phones, cordless phones, and tablets industry.
Indeed, mobile phones and tablets manufactured in accordance with these regulations are projected to conserve nearly 14 terawatt hours of primary energy annually by the year 2030. This amount represents one-third of the current primary energy consumption associated with these products.
In addition to energy efficiency, a set of regulations addresses some of the other environmental matters associated with mobile phones. Here they are.

Other Environmental Regulations Applicable to Eco-Friendly Phones

Regulation 2023/1670 is not the only one ruling the environmental impacts of androids and tablets. Indeed, previous regulations are in place about substances and e-waste management.

Substances Control

Various substance control regulations ensure the reduction of dozens of hazardous substances in cell phones. 

  • RoHS for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Importantly, RoHS regulations apply in the EU and globally. 
  • REACH Annex XVII
  • EU POP on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • US-TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act
  • PFAS management.

Additionally, manufacturers also have to communicate some toxic chemicals.

  • REACH SVHC – Substances of Very High Concern
  • California Proposition 65.

E-waste Control

Several jurisdictions, like the EU Member states, about half of the US, and the Canadian Provinces, have e-waste or WEEE regulations. In a nutshell, WEEE makes importers or producers placing devices on the market responsible for the future Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment. Extended product responsibility (EPR) includes subscribing to a compliance scheme and financing recycling organizations.

To conclude, an eco-friendly phone necessitates holistic environmental coverage. Production, functioning, and waste generation are all parameters that can make devices more eco-friendly.

Are you a manufacturer or an importer of electronics? Request a compliance assessment and see how eco-friendly your sales are!