Do We Really Need a New Smart Phone Every Two Years?

We all know about natural resource scarcity. However, as brand companies make consumers believe they need a new smart phone every two years, today’s global supply chains are responsible for incredibly large amounts of electronic waste. A new United Nations University report, titled The Global E-waste Monitor – 2014, details e-waste generation by region. The total amount of e-waste generated in 2014 is 41.8 million metric tonnes (Mt) and it is forecasted to increase to 50 Mt in 2018. This e-waste comprises 12.8 Mt of small equipment (e.g., toasters, video cameras), 11.8 Mt of large equipment (e.g., washing machines, photovoltaic panels), 7.0 Mt of cooling and freezing equipment, 6.3 Mt of screens, 3.0 Mt of small IT (e.g., mobile phones, computers), and 1.0 Mt of lamps. With 32% of the world’s total, the United States (7.1 Mt) and China (6.0 Mt) are responsible for most of the e-waste overall. The top per capita producers, however, are Norway (28.3 kg), Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

Baldé, C.P., Wang, F., Kuehr, R., Huisman, J. (2015). The Global E-waste Monitor – 2014. United Nations University, IAS – SCYCLE, Bonn, Germany

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Risk Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include resilient and socially responsible supply chains.

One response to “Do We Really Need a New Smart Phone Every Two Years?”

  1. Rajesh says :

    very true sir. I think one of the solution is to put a full stop to all second sales by registering the mobile with a single or two numbers and it cannot be used by other numbers. If people won’t get any resale value for the product, they will not go for new product in a short span of time….

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