The average consumer purchases a new smartphone every 18 months. When they do, old models end up either recycled or worse, tucked away in a drawer. But discarded smartphones contain lots of valuable materials, in particular the power left within their lithium batteries. Making use of those leftovers is a new startup from South Korea, which has created Better Re — an up-cycling external power pack that will enable consumers to use the remaining power in old batteries to charge their new devices.
Since the turn of the millennium, lithium mining — a process which often damages local environments — has more than doubled, as suppliers attempt to keep up with consumer demand for electronic products. Better Re, created by Enlighten, offers consumers a convenient and eco-friendly solution. Users simply remove the battery from their used smartphones and place it inside the Better Re power pack — the device can house batteries of all shapes, sizes and brands. They can then use the portable charger to recharge anything that uses a USB cable, including phones, tablets, digital cameras and smart watches. Most discarded smartphone batteries, even after two years of use, have around 80 percent efficiency remaining.
Enlighten have just run a successful crowdfunding campaign for Better Re on Kickstarter which ends today. Last minute backers can pre-order the device for USD 44 and the first orders will be shipped in November. Are there other discarded products that could be up-cycled for valuable parts?