Hufues de Tournemire // photo credit: DENIS CHARLET / AFP 07:18, September 18, 2023

Millions of us keep our old phones at home, according to ADEME. Nearly 110 million devices would sleep in our drawers, while 16.5 million of them could be recyclable, and even with a significant market value, for the best preserved.

We all have at least one old cell phone in our drawers at home, because it is sometimes difficult to part with it, or, to know how to get rid of it. Yet many of these devices would still have a market value, up to more than 100 euros on average each, for a total value of at least 1.6 billion euros.

Beyond this financial windfall, the French have everything to gain by parting with their old devices, for Christophe Brunot, the co-founder of Largo, a company specializing in the resale of mobile phones. "There is the economic issue, but there is an environmental issue. The telephone industry is an extremely polluting industry, by the materials used. There is 78% of the carbon debt of a smartphone that is related to its production phase," he explains. "So the longer we extend the life of products, the more we will crush this debt."

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New home sales down

Largo refurbishes and resells 100,000 phones per year for a turnover that has tripled since 2018, reaching 21 million euros in 2022. But the company is a small thumb in this market, next to the giant Backmarket or brands that are well established like Fnac or Cdiscount. And meanwhile, the resale of phones is so successful that the impact on the new home market is being felt hard: sales fell by 11% in 2022, the most in 10 years.