18 months – the average lifespan of a smartphone is just that short. The sales figures for mobile devices are rising every year. In 2019, 23 million were sold in Germany alone.
Such a rate of wear and tear not only puts a strain on consumers’ wallets, but also has a detrimental effect on the environment and on living and working conditions in the countries of production. Constantly increasing amounts of electronic waste are only one consequence of mass production.
Smart, because the phone is a modular assembly
Smartphones and other electrical appliances contain many valuable components made of minerals such as tantalum, gold, zinc or tungsten. Unfortunately, electronics companies mostly obtain these raw materials from conflict regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed groups control the mining operations and finance the civil war in the country. The local population has to dig in the mines for these so-called “blood ores" under conditions of forced labour.
A small number of electronics companies have thus chosen to prioritize sustainability and fair trade in the production of smartphones. The German manufacturer “SHIFT”, for example, has already completely dispensed with the use of the raw material tantalum in micro-capacitors. In addition, the SHIFT telephones are modular assemblies that can be repaired in a few simple steps by ordinary users. Any spare parts needed are immediately available. This saves electronic waste and facilitates the efficient use of mineral resources.
The SHIFT telephone can currently be seen in the showcase “New in The Network” in our permanent exhibition “The Network. People, Cables, Data Streams” in the Ladestrasse.
Smartphone SHIFt5me, 2019
Inventory number: 1/2020/0234 0