Phonebloks – Sustainable Design

Phonebloks is conceptual company that want to make mobile phones more sustainable, customizable and user-friendly.

Currently, phones tend to break within a couple of years or at least seem obsolete due to planned obsolescence and the fast-paced development of all things digital. This means that we throw away a shocking tonnage of mobiles and other devices like cameras and mp3 players. Electronic waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world, and most of it ends up in landfill – which is crazy because it contains diminishing finite metals. All e-waste produced in the UK is by law required to be recycled within the national borders, but I’ve watched a documentary exposing the fact that many companies try to skip this costly responsibility by illegally exporting the waste to developing countries. They tend not to have high-tech waste separation facilities so it is ‘recycled’ by people (and kids) sorting through it by hand, with bare feet, using small fires to separate the materials and contracting horrible illnesses from the toxins in the heavy metals and plastics.

So, electronic waste is a problem, and mobile phones are a big part of that.

What Phonebloks envisions is a ”phone worth keeping”. They rightly point out that when a phone breaks or becomes slow or doesn’t have a swanky new feature that we’re after, it’s generally just one small component of the phone that has the issue. But because they’re not designed to be repaired or upgraded, (planned obsolescence), we chuck the whole handset away. Their solution is a modular phone, where each component (battery, speaker, WIFI, camera, SIM card etc) is encapsulated in a handy ‘blok’ which can be removed and replaced with a new one. The ‘bloks’ would be developed by partner companies and sold similarly to apps.

Here’s their promotional video:

They’ve got a great idea, but they can’t start production until they’ve got investors and partners, and those moneybags won’t get involved unless there’s proof that such a phone would be popular. If you think it sounds great, then you should check out their website, like them on facebook and most importantly, join their ‘thunderclap‘. That means you agree to send a message via facebook, twitter or another online platform – automatically – at the same time on the same date as all the other people that have signed up. So farĀ 302,917,930 people have added their voice.

Speak up now if you want this super cool, affordable, sustainable and customizable phone.
Eco design is the future of technology!

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