Climate Actions, Inspiration, Smartphones, Zeepla Mission

Wastes Values Our Environment: Our Passion For Pre-loved Second-Hand Smart Devices

An inspirational conversion between four brilliant, talented young 2022 university graduates.

Josh (J) combine Finance and Technology graduate, Ali (A) combine Economics and Mathematics graduate, Tessie (T) combine Design and Internet of Things graduate and Charlotte (C) combine Computer Modelling  and Biotechnology graduate (not their real names), all in their early twenties.

A, C, J and T are childhood friends and grew up in the same local area in the UK, went to the same secondary school but different sixth form colleges and universities.

All graduated with flying colours from their different universities around the four nations of the UK; England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Their family backgrounds are mixed, so called middle and working classes, whatever that means in today’s cost of living crisis. They got on very well and kept in touch all through their various study stages at the university, catching up during vacations.

At one of their meetings shortly after graduation in the summer of 2022, a random but not out of place discussion started about the smart devices they currently use or have used, how, why and where they purchased them as well as their environmental values and cost.

Though none of the friends  is an active member of any known environmental action group or movement such as Friends of the Earth, Green Peace, Earth Justice, Extinction Rebellion, EWG (Environment Working Group), UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists), NRDC (Natural Resource Defence Council) or the Rain Forest Alliance, to name only a few notable ones, each expressed deep environmental concern and awareness.

As their discussion progressed, it became obvious that the school friends have grown to become very environmentally savvy, taking serious interest on matters related to Climate Change, the attendant consequences not least the diminution of natural resources, the actual and potential impact on human wellbeing.

Their attraction to second-hand smart devices as a means of expressing their environmental conviction is not only a remarkable coincidence but also seems to set them apart from many in their age group.

Coincidentally, all four friends in different university settings and for different reasons became really passionate about how they sourced smart devices, second-hand, pre-loved devices particularly smart phones, Earphones, i- watches as well as computers and eBooks. They described it as something else and incredible but true.

The ensuing discussion follows below:

A: Hey guys, putting it out there,  I have been through four great i-Phones in the past four years at my Univ.

T: Four i-Phones in four years, incredulous. Was that due to poor quality?

A: Goodness me! Not at all, I found new ways of sourcing my smart phones and other smart devices.  I discovered the second-hand market and got hooked. I have used two Apple i-Phones, i-Phone 11 and i-Phone 12 and two Samsung Galaxy phones all bought from the second-hand or used phoned markets at considerably great values for money. Good savings and service too. Yes, indeed, it is incredible!

I passed (sold) them on for either the same price or more whenever I found a better one, usually within one year of each other. Each replacement was better in any of the characteristics like the camera, size, preferred colour, the data capacity, year / age of the device, brand etc.

My other main consideration is the environmental impact of these many smart devices either through the supply chain actions to get each device to us, the end-users,  or the end-of-life treatment as waste in the environment.

It is quite concerning, the number of smart devices particularly phones in circulation around the globe with new ones regularly added by each brand.  

Buying, Exchanging, Donating Quality Second-Hand i-Phones can be Exciting, Save The Environment

J: That is weird, exactly what I have been doing in the last few years too. Sniffing out good bargains,  well used, quality devices only. I don’t buy refurbished, though I have learnt they are good values too.

But I have used only three smart phones. I have also bought a pre-loved computer from another student who wanted to trade up. In my second year, I bought a fantastic pre-loved eBook.  I actually prefer to call these gadgets “Pre-loved” rather than second-hand or used as the previous owners usually take good loving care of them.  

C: That is absolutely cool. I have used only two second-hand smart phones.  Two pre-loved computers, as J called them. I have literarily bought every other item in the last four years in the university from the pre-loved channels, either from a dedicated websites or direct sellers.

I carefully chose where and who I buy from. I  check over the device very carefully before making any payments. Each time I made significant savings, I get a particular thrill from it. With one cool Apple i-phone 12, I got it for less than 40% of the original value because the trendy chap was loaded and wanted to trade up to the latest smart Phone. I have heard the upcoming i-Phone 14 will cost as much as 800 quid or more (pound sterling).

A: My main motivation is not always the obvious monetary gains. I think hard about the environment since going to the university.  Anything legal and positive that I can do to reduce the consumption and depletion of the earth’s natural resources, I will do with ease.

I analysed the present environmental situation and decided that buying second-hand materials including my smart devices and my books (when I cannot get them from the university library or want to have my own copy) is one action that is a no-brainer for me.

It is stress-free and ultimately a win / win for our earth and the future of those living in it particularly us the youths of today who literarily still have a long way to go on it and then leave something good behind.

T: It seems we have all developed with the same views and values. That is amazing.  Maybe that has to do with our shared formative years together. Of course, the individual universities too.

Most of the gadgets I owned at that university were bought as quality used items, I should say, preloved, sorry J. I not only saved the earth resources, I also save money. Often, I discourage my parent from buying me stuff as I already know where and how to get those quality pre-loved bargains. My last Samsung Galaxy was a real quality bargain. I ended up selling it for the same price I paid for it after several months and bought a higher grade pre-loved Apple i-phone. My biggest satisfaction comes from knowing that I am helping the  reuse, recycling process,  the circular economy and reducing wastage.

A: These are real and verifiable stats. Those were the facts that motivated me into what we are all trying to achieve to reduce all elements of over consumptions and over exploitation. Using second-hand devices and, indeed, other second-hand products, is certainly a small part of that overall jigsaw.

Sustainability is for every aspect of our existence. Constantly considering the impact of our activities and decisions on tomorrow, the tomorrow that never ends. That preserves our environment now and the entire planet for those coming after us. I am really excited and energised by all of these.

C: Yes, though I am not a member of any environmental group, at least not yet, I am passionate about our planet and any wastage of resources. The quantity of smart devices and their rapid growth has a much wider and far reaching implications for the depletion of the planet’s rare natural resources.

 My interest in this areas also stems from some of my course components at the university, which were delivered by very capable lecturers  and professors, renowned experts in their specialist fields.

The university invited practicing environmentalists to give talks on special topics in circular economy and sustainability. These talks  seemed to reduce all necessary actions to ensuring that nothings goes to waste or eliminating wasteful actions to the barest minimum at each stage of the production process,  to reuse and recycling materials and products whatever and wherever we can. These can be achieved in so many different simple, uncomplicated ways or steps. There is also the emotional aspect of getting a quality pre-loved device of any type and brand at a really bargain price. Sometimes, it feels like a hidden, unexpressed orgasm!

J:  That is cool. I see what you mean. I think we all have had that feeling at some point. Aha moment.  A bit like sweet spot getting a quality pre-loved device, be it i-Phone, i-Pad, smart watch, EarPod, whatever. You also feel one is playing a part in the serve of preserving our planet for our generation and the future generation.

Certainly not always about the very obvious financial benefits that come with buying any quality items second-hand, or the so called used gadgets. Stopping waste and saving our planet are tops.

T: You have just hit the nail in the head! You know, this whole idea of redesigning materials and products, recapturing wastes to create new products from them, using less of raw materials, reusing products and ending up with zero waste in the entire supply chain and product development process are exactly what we are talking about.

That is pretty cool for a whole new exciting era of environmentally focused jobs to enhance our quality of life and wellbeing, help redress the cost of living crisis and the future of our planet. We’ve all got it! I just keep wondering why so many people still don’t get it.  

Quality Second-Hand EarPod
Quality Second-Hand EarPod

The discussion continued between the four friend into other areas as one would expect, exploring and exchanging many shared youthful university experiences, not least parties, exams, result days, restaurants and nouvelle cuisine,  travels and holidays, job interviews and the strategies, etc.

 It was interesting to note that they still felt the emotions and thrills of other youths despite their stated deep and serious commitment to the environment.

Zeepla’s open community social platform provides environmentally-minded participants the opportunity to practice these core principles of sustainability, recycling and circular economy with key life technologies. The opportunity to sell, buy, exchange or donate used, second-hand or pre-loved smart devices and home entertainment equipment and help with the safeguarding and amelioration of our planet is exactly what Zeepla® is about.

If you have a device or home entertainment equipment you would like others to have or share, just Zeepla it!™

You can also share your own story or experience to motivate and inspire others.


Dr Zeepla

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