In Western countries, people purchase new mobile phones on average every 18 months, which often means that old phones lie around in drawers or are otherwise unrecycled. Incorrectly disposed electronic waste is one of the most problematic waste types. Additionally, rare materials and natural resources are wasted if devices end up at a landfill instead of being recycled. The production of new mobile phones, in turn, uses up resources and increases greenhouse gas emissions. From the consumer’s perspective, another problem is the continuous rise in the prices of new phones.
Solution: a marketplace for used smart phones
Swappie purchases used phones from companies and private individuals, carries out maintenance on them and puts them up for resale. Phones sold to Swappie can be either fully functional or they can be in an inoperable condition – before their resale a technical analysis is run on the phones which indicates their condition. Additionally, phones are examined for signs of water damage, etc. Phones can nearly always be reused; they can either be used for spare parts or be repaired for resale. Phones that are unfit for the Finnish market are sent abroad via other recycling services. Unusable phones are taken to electronic waste disposal points. Extending a mobile phone’s service life from 1.8 years to 4.5 years can help halve the carbon footprint of the phone’s life cycle.
Revenue logic and benefits for Swappie
Swappie’s revenue logic is based on the revenue earned from the resale of phones. The company’s business activities are profitable because of optimised technological analyses and a specialisation in certain products: iPhones. Because of the company’s extensive knowledge of the product, Swappie’s employees are able to repair models and use the spare parts when they repair broken devices. The company pays suppliers for used phones. The company is able to create new business without having to maintain large warehouses or production facilities.
Benefits to customers and end users
Customers benefit from the smaller purchase price of a used phone, the warranty offered for the products and the transparency of Swappie’s activities: the customer knows what they are purchasing. The customer can also earn money by selling their old phone to the company.