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Everything on the photo above is second hand, yup, even the cell phone 🙂 A few days ago, I mentioned the issue of sustainable electronics on Instagram. A relatively complex topic. On the one hand, sustainability and electronics seem to contradict each other. On the other hand, we all can hardly live without a laptop, camera & co. But one thing is crystal clear to me: I would never buy a brand new cell phone again. My current smartphone is a refurbished cell phone and I’m also currently testing a “new” model from Swappie

Founded in Finland in 2015, Swappie is a safe, affordable and sustainable alternative to buying a new iPhone. All products are purchased, refurbished and resold in-house. All Swappie products are fully tested by professional technicians in the company’s Helsinki office and come with a one-year warranty.

What exactly does refurbished mean? Why it is a great alternative to buying new? What are the advantages and disadvantages? How do I make sure my phone doesn’t break? Read on to find out more!

Refurbished iPhones are not new, but also not used!

Refurbished products are extensively tested and reconditioned. Software and hardware checks are made and only when everything is running smoothly will it be put back on sale. So you shouldn’t really think of it as “used”, but better as “refurbished”.

Where do the devices come from?

The majority of the devices are store demo models and company cell phones. Some devices also come from private individuals who sell their old cell phones.

But why should I choose a refurbished phone in the first place?

On the website of Deutsche Umwelthilfe you can read that cell phones are usually only used for 2 to 3 years before a new device is purchased. But new cell phones consume a huge amount of resources, especially for the new raw materials, which leads to huge environmental impacts. An example: For the new devices purchased in Germany alone, about 720kg of gold are needed annually. Mining leads to the poisoning of the ecosystem using enormous amounts of toxic cyanide and mercury. And 75% of the CO2 emissions caused by a smartphone are generated during its manufacturing.

What is an alternative, then? Refurbishing existing cell phones!


The advantages of Swappie:

  • All phones have undergone extensive and rigorous testing. They are all refurbished, i.e. phone and battery work as they should
  • A refurbished smartphone is much more cost-effective. Depending on its condition, you can get it up to 40 percent cheaper on Swappie phones – and the difference to a new version is usually only a small, cosmetic flaw
  • Reconditioned cell phones have a longer life span than you might think. Swappie also offers a 12-month warranty – free of charge
  • Delivery takes only 1-4 days
  • And there is a 14 day return policy with free return shipping


I have tested the ordering process for you:

I have received a test device from Swappie. But I went through the same order process as a “normal” customer. I chose the iPhone 11 Pro, because as a blogger, camera quality is especially important to me. I didn’t need a completely new product, because small scratches on the case didn’t bother me, so I chose the condition “very good”. You can also choose the memory capacity as well as the color . 

After two days my delivery already arrived. Swappie delivers to 25 countries, including Germany, Austria and also to the UK.

The phone is packed very minimalistic and safely in a solid box and the battery comes preloaded so you can try it out right away. My model came as advertised with 1-2 smaller signs of use on the edge of the phone casing. I tried to capture the flaws as good as possible on the photos (see below).

So far the device works fine and I have always had good experiences with refurbished phones in the past. When you need a new device, refurbished products are always a great, sustainable alternative in my opinion. We don’t need a new phone every year, but if we do need to buy a “new” one, I would definitely recommend buying a refurbished version. I have had very good experiences with this!

What you should pay attention to when you receive your phone (no matter if it is new or refurbished):

  • Of course cosmetic defects like scratches etc. (depending on its advertised condition it should have more or less scratches)
  • Are there any dead pixels on the display?
  • Is the battery running as it should?
  • Do the camera, speakers and microphone work?


But with the return options and warranty you can’t really go wrong. With the code heylila10 you also get a 10€ discount on your purchase at Swappie.


Here are some photos of the “flaws” – only small marks on the edge, not even real scratches:

How can you extend the life of a cell phone?

Even if you choose a very sustainable option and a recycled phone, the lifetime of the phone still counts when it comes to sustainable electronics. Of course, you don’t have 100% control over how long a model lasts. But what helps is a high-quality cell phone cover and protective glass. On top of that, to extend battery life the battery should be plugged in only as long as necessary, i.e. until the battery is full. Overnight charging, for example, should be avoided.

Have you ever bought a refurbished cell phone? If yes, what were your experiences?

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  1. Danke für den Beitrag, sehr spannend! Ich kaufe seit ein paar Jahren meine Elektronik nur noch gebraucht, jedoch auf einer anderen Seite (as good as new) & war immer sehr zufrieden. Schön, dass es jetzt immer mehr Anbieter gibt. Neue Produkte würde ich mit dem Wissensstand von heute nicht mehr kaufen, es gibt einfach schon viel zu viele auf der Welt.

    Alles Liebe!

  2. Vielen Dank. Fand ich ein sehr hilfreicher und spannender Beitrag. Hab mein altes Iphone schon sicher 4 Jahre und alle sagen immer, warum kaufst du dir kein Neues? Solangs funktionier, wirds behalten.