The Green 2020: Impact of Smartphones on the
Environment in Present and Future
Department of Computer Science
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
Munam Ali Shah
Department of Computer Science
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
COMSATS Institute of Information technology,
Abstract— Green computing is the most debatable
topic in entire world as mobile devices such as personal
digital assistance, laptops and smartphones are the main
source of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide,
greenhouse gases etc. These emissions are widely
disturbing the ecosystem and cause of environmental
damages. This paper discusses the state of the art on
tools, technologies and trends to make smartphones
green. The objective is to analyze the current usage
patterns of the smart phones for the emission of
greenhouse gases (GHG). Based on our analysis, we
forecast the future and present our findings for the
green world in 2020.
Keywords— Green IT; Green Computing; Environment;
Eco-friendly Devices; GHGs.
Green computing is related to the environmentally
sustainable computing or IT. It contains all of the activities
and efforts that comprise ecologically friendly technologies
and techniques into the entire lifecycle of ICT  . It is
mainly referred to as the practice and study of
manufacturing and using the computers and servers as well
as the disposing of it, including printers, monitors and
storage devices, etc. so that it impacts at its minimal level.
These devices are the cause of emissions of different
hazardous gases i.e. carbon dioxide, methane and other
gases. These gases destroy the environment and damage
global climate. Energy efficiency is important factor for
future ICT (Information and Communication Technologies),
because of the availability and increasing cost of the energy.
Due to increasing cost of energy and the need to decrease
the GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, there is significant
raise in the demand of energy efficient devices or
technologies that reduce overall consumption of energy
computation, communications and storage. In , main
objective is reduction in carbon emission and achieve
In computing many vendors and manufacturers are
continuously working, for designing energy efficient IT
devices, reducing the hazardous material usage and supports
the recyclability of the paper and digital devices. The
earliest green IT or computing concept came into being in
1992, when the EPA (environmental protection agency)
promote efficiency in all type of hardwares and launched it
as an energy star program. Today many organizations or
researchers work on green computing to keep our homeland
green, safe and secure from GHGs. Green ICT (Information
and Communication Technologies) and its services provide
opportunities to decrease carbon footprints and mitigate
emission of carbon through its services and products. Major
categories of Green IT benefits are: cost reduction benefit
and environmental benefit  . The initiative in green IT
implementation is basically for two reasons: i) reduction in
energy consumption; and ii) reduction in cooling cost of
A gas which traps heat in the aerosphere is called GHGs.
Hazardous gases are a serious issue today; probably the
most alarming threat to our planet at the present time is
GHGs. These hazardous gases destroy our planet, basically
these gases are occurring naturally, but humans increase
their concentration. According to different sources, the
gases are tuned to absorb energy at the infrared wavelengths
, these gas molecules excite, warming the aerosphere.
When it excited energy re-emitted again, but some is back to
the earth to warm it still more and some of this is lost to
space. Basically the GHGs work to raise temperature at the
A. Carbon Dioxide Emission:
Carbon dioxide is the leading greenhouse gas which is
emitted by the human activities. In 2013, it is accounted that
82% of GHGs emissions are done from human actions.
2017 International Conference on Communication Technologies (ComTech)
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Carbon naturally exists in aerosphere as the part of the
Earth's carbon cycle (the regular circulation of carbon
among the aerosphere is soil, plants, animals and oceans) 
. The carbon cycle are modified by human actions, both by
influencing the ability of regular sinks and by increasing
to the aerosphere  , to remove carbon from the
environment increase forests. Furthermore,
from a variety of regular sources, human-related emissions
are responsible for the increase that has occurred in the
atmosphere since the industrial revolution  . Major
emissions are described below:
B. Methane Emission:
Methane is the 2nd most common GHGs emission
due to human activities and wetlands. Methane is emitted by
the raising of livestock and leakage from natural gas system.
Chemical reaction in atmosphere and natural processes in
soil reduce methane in the atmosphere. Major sources of the
methane gases are the
¾Waste from homes and business
C. Nitrous Oxide Emission:
The increasing amount of ܰ
ܱin the atmosphere is due to
fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and agriculture
and wastewater management. ܰ
ܱ are mainly caused by the
oceans and soils. It is mainly produced on natural basis
rather than the other sources.
II.Reduce the environmental impact
The main objective of green computing is to analyze the
effect of mobile devices such as PDA (personal digital
assistance), laptops and mobile phones or smart phones on
environment. As we are facing the problem of greenhouse
affects, to reduce this environment should be less polluted,
the friendly environment products should be invented and
promotion of it should be increased in order to provide the
clean and friendly environment. Because of all such
situations all the firms and companies are moving towards
the green computing. Smart phones are one of the main
causes of emissions and here we want to see the impact of
these smartphones in present and future.
The below mentioned diagram shows that in
order to achieve the green environment smartphones or any
other IT devices must have three things i.e. use of less toxic
materials, less power consumption and use of recyclable
Figure 1. Green Smartphones
III. Backgroud of going Green
Smartphones play a vital role nowadays. We want to
achieve green environment while still using the
smartphones. Green IT focuses on the energy- efficient
equipment and eco-friendly hardware in terms of using,
designing, manufacturing and disposing  . Information
technology or any other technology is causing
environmental encumbrance as a result of the desired
A. Reduction in energy:
This study , introduce many methods for the
improvement of the power consumption and performance of
the smartphones. As a source of metal, EEE(electric and
electronic equipment) recently focus on the effective
collection and recovery system of the specific feature for
the each EEE type . In  the sensitive analysis
showed that it is recommended to use the solar energy when
the charger is connected. In the next generations of the
products more features and functionalities are expected due
to this energy consumption increases correspondingly  .
In , the cloud computing is not only waste of time but
effective use of this can help and reduce the carbon dioxide
emissions of ICT sector.
B. Toxic Material:
In study of , the main problem of environmental damage
is the electronic components, in  smart phones charger
is the cause of the environmental damage because its main
component is print wiring boards. The emissions of CO2
generated from the incineration of plastics there were almost
the same as they avoided by metals  .  Metals are
harmful for the environment. The mobile phones are the
more hazardous substances .  Analyze PCBs from
the mobile phone are made up of 13 wt.% polymers, 63
wt.% metals and 24 wt.% ceramics  .  By using cu
(copper) in smart phones the eco toxicity in the water is
increases or we can say as occur.
Separating of disposable material to overcome the damage
of the environment from the hazardous substances is called
recycling. Recycling is a process in which component
materials are make as a useful material by some processing
. The gain knowledge is carried out a preliminary
categorization of a broad kind of finish-of-life EEE and
sorted out their hard traits as secondary metallic assets as a
groundwork for the reconstruction of the programs for
assortment, sorting, and pre-processing towards extra
powerful reuse of metals in finish-of-existence EEE  .
In , china many of the mobile phones are reused in
the secondhand market that’s why the collection rate for
recycling is low; in the secondhand market the re-usage
does not affect the environment. In study of  and 
the results suggest that of the State of California First
Mobile Phone recycling (AB 2901) act, which is the only
place of the prohibition on the questionnaire and a
significant and positive effect on the recycling of mobile
phones. In the countries that are industrialized
approximately 15% of the mobile devices are returned for
the recycling  . In study of  the correct method of
the mobile use is defined, apply recycling correctly a global
urgent need of the mobile phone waste management. For
environmental benefits need of encouragement is very
necessary to draw the attention of the consumers what is
important for good management . At the national level
less than 3% of the mobiles treated as one of the main EEE
recycling plants  . In china, the green box environmental
program and the green card recycling activities are the
examples of mobile phone waste recycling . The author
analyzed in this study , the main reason for the mobile
phones replacement is the physical damage. In  author
described the cause of environmental damage is e-waste and
green IT is achieved by managing e-waste and this analysis
also gives a solution like print both sides of the paper in the
organizational level to reduce the hazardous substances.
D. Green metrics:
The research in  suggests the improvement in the
energy efficiency of mobile system networks. Some special
devices have been extended now a day for eco-friendly
environment so many energy efficient metrics have been
proposed hence called green metrics. There are basically
two types of metrics  , the facility metrics and the
equipment metrics. The equipment level metrics account for
less efficient rating of a single piece of the equipment of
mobile network with specific functionalities in micro
aspects, that is, the TEEER (Telecommunications
Equipment Energy Efficiency Rating) by the Verizon NEBS
Compliance  , the TEER (Telecommunications Energy
Efficiency Ratio) proposed by the ATIS (Alliance for
Telecommunications Industry Solutions)  the CCR
(Consumer Consumption Rating)  , the ECR (Energy
Consumption Rating)  etc.
The green rate can be determined by the energy
consumption of the network or by total power consumption
in any scenario  . In , at the run time of an
application extract what amount of energy consumes by
using clusters of green metrics.
II. METHOD FOR CONDUCTING THE
ANALYSIS OF SMARTPHONE
An Environmental LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
method is used for governing the analysis of smartphones
product life cycle,  it exceeded the traditional
production and manufacturing processes so that the
environmental and social and economic effects of the entire
life cycle of the product, including the consumption and
should be taken into account during use. In a mobile phone
functional unit LCA method is used for 3 years in
production.  LCA results showed that refurbishing
creates the highest environmental impacts of the three reuse
routes in every impact category except ODP (ozone
depletion potential).  The usage of electricity and the
CO2e emission is reduced by 20-55% and 18-74% in virtual
desktops (VD). Through this method environmental
effect/impact of recycling was analyzed  .  This
method is used to compare the environmental effect of the
various chargers, efficiency and the environmental impact
of the material selection. LCA software found that the
damage assessment of a charger is higher as compare to the
other parts of a smart phone  . In the comparison of the
feature phone of 2008 and the smartphone LCA result
shows an increment of 34 kg CO2e  .  It is more
consistent than PCs, for the mobile phone and TVs.
III. REDUCE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
To reduce the smartphone emissions impact on environment
follow these points: choose greener material, change
contract length, cut down on packaging and accessories, and
design for disassembly and energy saving batteries 
A. Design for disassembly and repair: Many
smartphones are knowingly glued shut or have permanently
screws to stop customers from opening them. Designing
smartphones in such a way that is less complicated to take
apart, to restore or exchange components it would make an
immense change. This process will make it more price
effective to reuse and extract its parts and metals in second
B. Choose greener materials: Similar to polylactic
acid plastic (PLA), which is made totally from corn starch
or glucose, it is renewable and biodegradable also;
recycled plastic and ordinary substances like bamboo or
use fewer substances.
C. Energy-saving batteries: The natural and organic
radical battery (ORB) utilizes no heavy metals that may be
dangerous to humans and charges battery in just 30
D. Cut down on packaging and accessories: Are all
these manuals, chargers and packaging substances
relatively needed? The 30 million new smart phones are
offered annually in which 70% of consumers have already
got suitable chargers. HTC, Nokia and Sony now promote
some units with simply USB leads alternatively of needless
chargers, as part of O2 (it was the primary community to
strengthen an eco-ranking in the UK in 2010 with
independent sustainability group discussion board for the
IV. Statistical Analysis
In this section, we provide methods and their impact on
the media that is air. LCA is a method for conducting the
analysis of smartphones as discussed above. We analyzed
here by using of ICT devices what amount of
emitted. Table 1 shows the intensity of effect on the
Table 1. Carbon Emission Rates
To overcome the requirements of modern IT, substructure
has been enlarge which brings many issues related to the
green IT . According to the reports information, Table
2 presents the emission rate of different smartphones  ,
. Samsung galaxy S4 emission was certified by the
japan environmental management association for industry
(JEMAI). This table includes the iphone7plus, galaxy s4 and
Nokia Lumia 1520  .
Table 3. shows the approximate sales of the above 3
mentioned mobile phones. By taking selling rate of 2014
and 2015 we calculate the growth rate of sellings in 2020
and if this rate considered as constant then what would be
the impact of such devices on the environment till the 2020.
This is shown in the Figure 3. This graph shows the trend of
the impact of the emissions from the smart phones till the
2020 on the environment.
Figure 3. The green world in 2020
V. Recommendations and conclusion:
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
CO2Emission of Smart phones
Apple Samsung Microsoft
Table 3: Selling rate of smartphones
Technique Main subject Total
is used for
ce of the
Effect of charger on life
In china power
During 3 years life time
Sony XperiaTM T total
Whole life cycle of
mobile phone emits.
Copper concentration in
printed circuit boards
from mobile phones.
For cooling devices
Achieve reduction in
Table 2 Emission of smartphones
78% 18% 3% 1% 67%
2% 18% 1% 0% 21.55
74% 13% 9% 1% 37kg
The smartphones have shown the deepened impacts on
the environment as well as on the economy. The efficient
mobile application developing is a predominant goal for the
software builders as power usage can immediately affect the
usability of the IT devices  . This study analyzes the
emissions of smartphones and their impacts on the
environment till the 2020. As per the analyses it is shown
that the impact would be the higher in 2020 so there is need
of useful policies to optional practical training for friendly
environment. So that the target of green computing must be
achieve. For this purpose, there is need to manufactured the
less toxic materials used in the production of smart phones
so that these could be recycled. Less energy consumption
devices should be promoted to save the energy and make
these devices energy efficient. In order to reduce the
emissions such devices need to be manufactured which
releases less carbon dioxide. For this there is need of higher
research and development so that these could be achieving
till the 2020.
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