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Average adult will own this many cell phones in their lifetime

Only 28 percent of the cell phone users polled have taken the sustainable route of purchasing a second-hand smartphone or tablet.

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Astrid Cooper, 72Point via SWNS

The average adult will own 19 cell phones over their lifetime – during which they’ll misplace them 50 times.

A poll of 2,000 cell phone owners found the typical person will get a new handset every three years and four months – equating to 19 devices over the typical UK adult lifespan of 63 years.

The average smartphone user also has two phones tucked away in drawers, although 13 percent have twice as many – owning four or more.

It also emerged only 29 percent have recycled their cell phone before swapping in for a new model, as 41 percent confessed they don’t know what to do with old devices.

Lars Silberbauer, CMO at HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, which commissioned the research to celebrate the launch of "Circular" – a mobile phone subscription service, said “Smartphones make up a significant contribution to global e-waste - and we want to change that.

“It is important devices have multiple lives, and by ensuring they are recycled at the end of their lifecycle, we can help keep devices out of landfill.”

The study also found 48 percent will hang onto old devices “in case of emergencies,” while 34 percent will hand them onto family and friends.

And despite being able to pocket some cash from doing so, only 27 percent have traded in or part exchanged a used handset.

Woman lying on couch using food delivery app on smartphone. Close up of african woman hands holding cellphone and ordering food online.
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

It emerged 67 percent of respondents have replaced a cell phone that’s still in good working order, with 44 percent wanting the latest software and features on their smart device.

A further 39 percent have replaced a working phone as its battery life was starting to dwindle, and 26 percent have simply taken advantage of a free upgrade on their contract.

Despite 46 percent agreeing it’s easy to recycle an old cell phone, 47 percent don’t actually know how to go about doing so.

Only 28 percent of the cell phone users polled have taken the sustainable route of purchasing a second-hand smartphone or tablet.

This is despite 32 percent saying they’d be more likely to buy a pre-owned device if they knew it was kinder to the planet than buying a brand-new model.

With reasons being trying to make more sustainable purchasing choices (70 percent), believing buying brand new can be a waste of money (48 percent) and agreeing second-hand phones can work just as well as a new one (52 percent).

Although, of the fifth (19 percent) of respondents that would be less likely to invest their cash in a second-hand device, 61 percent said it’s because they don’t think the hardware would work as well.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found a third believe the individual actions they take, such as recycling their e-waste, don’t have an impact on the environment and sustainability.

Lars Silberbauer said, "We want to reward those that share the same values as us and actively incentivize users to keep phones in pockets for longer and work towards extending the overall lifecycle of devices.”

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