Most of us have felt the exasperation of feeling helpless when our smartphone breaks. Phone manufacturers seem to go to extraordinary lengths to deter consumers from opening the back of their phones to try DIY repairs. Help is at hand. Fairphone is a new company that has produced a self-repairable mobile phone. The founder is Bas van Abel, a Dutch design engineer who set out to make "the world's first ethical smartphone". He started his company in 2013 with four basic principles. First, he wanted to use raw materials from non-conflict mining areas. He also wanted to make a product that was recyclable, durable and repairable. The new Fairphone embodies these aims.
The Fairphone website outlines the philosophy that underpins the company. It says its mission is to motivate "a massive industry to take responsibility for its impact on the world, by establishing a viable market for ethical electronics". It highlights the fact that many workers who produce technology are working in unacceptable conditions. It also points out the, "staggering amount of waste the electronics industry generates". Finally, it says: "Communication technology is on track to account for 14 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions by 2040." The Fairphone comes with a screwdriver and is easily repairable. The plastic used is 40-per-cent recycled, and the minerals are ethically sourced.
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