Manufacturing the average smartphone is estimated to create around 16kg of CO2 equivalent emissions. If you then add the amount of power the phone consumes over two years of average use then that figure rises to 22kg, but there’s also much more to consider.


All smartphones contain hazardous materials like bromine, chlorine, lead and mercury, while more than 1,000 components are made of metals like gold, tin, lithium and tantalum, which, although not poisonous, cause huge damage through land degradation and mining. There are also other ethical considerations to take into account, such as whether the minerals required to build a smartphone have been sourced from countries where workers are not paid properly, treated fairly or where there are human rights abuses or conflicts.