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Upcycling Android: Keep using your phone with Free Software


In the European Week for Waste Reduction the FSFE launches its new initiative "Upcycling Android": Every time we keep using our phone instead of buying a new one we support a more sustainable use of our resources. Upcycling Android helps people to tackle software obsolescence and to keep using their phones with Free Software.

It is the European Week for Waste Reduction, a week that is dedicated to promoting the reuse of products and materials and to helping save resources and reduce waste in everyday life. The FSFE joins in with the new initiative "Upcycling Android" - an initiative to help saving resources by reusing one of our most valuable devices of our daily life, our phones.

Our video explains everything about Upcycling Android in a nutshell.

Every year, manufacturers produce 1.5 billion phones worldwide - and unfortunately, probably almost as many are thrown away after what is usually a far too short hardware lifespan. The short lifespan of these phones often stems from so-called "software obsolescence", the situation in which users are faced with the dilemma of either buying new hardware or living with outdated software. The environmental consequences of these short hardware lifespans can be dire. To help users in overcoming this problem, with Upcycling Android we enable people to upcycle Android phones with Free Software. Every time we keep using our current phone instead of buying a new one we help avoid the production of new phones and the growing disposal of e-waste.

Upcycling Android explains the issue of software obsolescence in the Android world and helps people flashing their phones with Free Software operating systems. This process not only offers you greater control of your phone, it can also provide a better experience than using proprietary operating systems. But most important: in cases where phones stop receiving software updates from the manufacturing company, switching to a Free Software operating system helps keeping your phone up-to-date. This way you can keep using your device, help the environment, and enjoy many more benefits. Free Software gives you full control over your device, as you can finally uninstall apps you could not before, and you profit from extended privacy protection - just to mention a few.

Political background & information material

The FSFE is steadily committed to a more sustainable use of technology with Free Software. In the beginning of the year, we participated in the EU consultation about "Energy labelling of mobile phones and tablets" and later in the year we published a study on software obsolescence with a call for Device Neutrality and Upcycling of Software.

We have a huge collection of information and background material to help spread the word about the environmental impact of our phones. And how to help reducing the problem by upcycling your Android device with Free Software. The range of material includes stickers, infographics, leaflets, videos, podcasts, articles and studies.

Upcoming activities

In the upcoming months, the FSFE's activities within the Upcycling Android initiative will be two-fold: In cooperation with local groups we provide several workshops where people can gather and network around the topic of Upcycling Android, can experiment or receive help in flashing their phones. In addition, we watch and engage within the current discussions on the European level surrounding the "Sustainable Products Initiative" and the "Circular Electronics Initiative". Within these activities we aim at explaining the benefits of Free Software for a more sustainable use of our products to decision-makers.