A newly released research report from Greenpeace Germany and the Öko-Institute gives a comprehensive overview of the resource related issues of smartphone and tablet production, use and recycling.

The report, titled ‘Resource Efficiency in the ICT Sector’, shows how the globalised nature of smartphone and tablet supply chains is linking these products to a variety of sustainability issues around the world. As the production of smartphones and tablets has major environmental and social impacts, it is important to use them as long as possible. However, the report identifies several reasons why devices become ‘obsolescent’ before they lose functionality.

So-called ‘psychological obsolescence’ causes many consumers to replace their phones within a few years after they bought them. In a context of flawed recycling practices, encouraging consumers to extend the lifetime of the phone they already own would be very rewarding in terms of sustainability.

Read the full report here. An executive summary of the report is available here.