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Most of us will remember the school assemblies and various campaigns that ingrained that all-too-familiar line in our minds: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The concept was simple: Use only what you need, use it again, and when you’re done with it- find a better way to dispose of it.

While that concept is still thriving in today’s more environmentally conscious society, we’ve evolved into a new era, with a term that captures the idea a little more bluntly: Zero waste. Quite simply put, the goal is to keep waste away from landfills by only using sustainable materials (eg. metal straws, cloth bags instead of plastic, etc) and food that can be decomposed.

Whether you’re still practicing your three R’s or living a zero waste life, we all have a part to play in the motion toward making our planet a little healthier and our lives a lot happier. Including TextNow.

Reduce

According to Statista, in 2018, there were 201.3 million smartphones sold in North America alone. And while a recent Gartner report claims that global smartphone sales declined 2.7% in the first quarter of 2019, we’d like to back up a bit and think about what that 201.3 million number really means.

According to the EPA, only about 12.5% of all e-waste is recycled. So out of those 201.3 million phones, 176.1 million will eventually find their way into a landfill. That’s the equivalent of the width of the U.S. By five times

At TextNow, we know that having a smartphone has become a basic necessity, and is hard to avoid. So instead of removing smartphones, we’re helping by reducing instead!

Unlike the early ages of phone companies, a phone number no longer needs to be housed by a physical phone. With a TextNow phone number, you can access your messages and calls anytime from a tablet, a computer, or if you so wish- an actual phone. With multiple possibilities for staying connected, we can reduce the number of actual smartphones being purchased and used for the simple task of having a phone number.

If you must have a phone, though, there are other ways to reduce your consumption. Many of the phones that we offer on our site are refurbished. This means that they’ve been returned to either us or the original manufacturer, and just like our schools taught us, we didn’t throw them away. We reused. Which brings us to the next part.

Reuse

Now, reusing smartphones doesn’t all have to be about buying refurbished. It doesn’t have to be about buying at all.

With the rising prevalence of smartphones, there is a high chance that someone in your family or circle of friends already has one lying around that they are no longer using. So if you’re worried about the cost of a phone plus the cost of maintaining that phone with a service plan- don’t.

In the apps-dominated space that we are living in, it is entirely possible to have a phone number (hey, that’s what we do!), online bank, keep in touch with friends and family, and even share a selfie or two all without a cell phone plan. With free Wi-Fi spots popping up all across the country (and the world), staying connected has never been this easy. And it’s only bound to get easier.

Recycle

On the other hand, maybe you’re someone who does care about having the “latest and greatest”, and upgrading your phone to ensure you can keep up with your home and work life comfortably. There’s no harm in that, but you can still make sure that you are part of the solution- not the problem.

If you are no longer in need of your outdated smartphone, there are many ways you can recycle it and make sure it stays away from a landfill:

  1. Hand it down to a family member or friend who is in more need of it than you are
  2. Find an electronics recycling drop-off spot near you (like ecoATM)
  3. If you’re already upgrading your phone, contact your carrier and find out about their trade-in or buy-back programs. Some carriers may also have recycling programs that you can be a part of.

When it comes down to it, being environmentally conscious is really quite simple, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s your groceries, your clothes or your electronics: Use only what you need, use it again, and when you’re done with it- find a better way to dispose of it.

¹ Based on a calculation of average length of a smartphone (5.5″)

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