Press Release | 22 Apr 2024

Reduce, Reuse, Refurbished: second-hand behaviours on the rise

If 50% of Brits switched to a refurbished device in 2024, an astonishing 63,750,000kg of carbon could be saved, enough to power the equivalent of 88,174 family homes across the UK for a year.

  • UK consumers are making more conscious shopping decisions than ever before with almost half (45%) considering their impact on the planet before purchasing new items.  
  • Yet seven-in-10 (70%) are still searching for easier ways to help the planet. 
  • The behavioural changes that consumers think have the most positive impact on the planet are reducing food waste (46%), planting a tree (39%) and walking or cycling for short trips (38%). But there is also a growing trend towards choosing refurbished mobile devices in a bid to help the planet.  
  • This increasing demand is supported by the 83% increase that Vodafone has seen in refurbished sales over the last year*. 
  • 79% of Brits purchasing a new phone this year would consider a refurbished device to save money (42%) or to help the environment (27%). 
  • Yet if just 50% of Brits switched to a refurbished device in 2024, an astonishing 63,750,000kg of carbon could be saved, enough to power the equivalent of 88,174 family homes across the UK for a year**.

UK consumers are more conscious than ever about reaching their green goals, with new research released on Earth Day 2024 revealing that 68% of Brits have done more to bolster their eco-friendly efforts over the past two years, with reducing food waste (46%), planting a tree (39%) and walking or cycling for short trips (38%) considered the easiest and more impactful ways to reduce carbon footprint.

However, despite an increase in demand for refurbished mobile devices – illustrated by an 83% increase in sales of Vodafone refurbed devices, general awareness of the eco benefits of buying refurb is low with half of Brits (50%) unaware of the added carbon (and cost) savings that can be made by buying a refurbished phone.

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In fact, Vodafone has revealed that if 50% of Brits who are considering purchasing a phone in 2024 opted for a refurbished device, they could save 63,750,000kg of carbon – the equivalent to powering 88,174 three/four bedroom houses for a year**.

Vodafone wants to encourage the UK to consider a refurbished device when looking to upgrade their phone in 2024, which reduces their carbon footprint but still helps them upgrade their smartphone to the latest Apple and Samsung models including the iPhone 15 or Samsung Galaxy S23.

With climate change an immediate threat and daily stories around potential solutions dominating the news agenda, the research also revealed that almost half (49%) of people are overwhelmed by climate change discussions, but would do more to become greener if they knew how (70%).

Carbon emissions that can be saved from behavioural changes

Buying a refurbished phone


London to Edinburgh by rail instead of air


Switching to LED lightbulbs


Eating vegetarian, one day a month


Planting a tree


Halving weekly food waste


Cycling 10km instead of driving


Buying 2nd hand clothes


With 27% of Brits turning to refurbished devices due to the environmental benefits and 42% for cost savings, a third (30%) who wouldn’t consider a refurb phone are most concerned by poor battery life (64%), the longevity of the phone (57%) and having a faulty device (56%).

Vodafone is challenging this with its market leading Lifetime Service Promise offering on Vodafone EVO, meaning every new and refurbished phone comes with Battery Refresh and Lifetime Warranty, so phones last longer with Vodafone, at no extra cost.

What’s more, all refurbished phones are available on Vodafone EVO, the smart way to buy a smartphone. With interest-free (0% APR), 3-36 months phone contracts, flexible upfront costs and upgrades as early as 3 months into the plan. This flexible mobile offering lets customers get smartphones at a price that suits them best.

Vodafone launches UK's only Lifetime Service Promise

Every phone comes with Battery Refresh and Lifetime Warranty at no extra cost, so phones last longer with Vodafone EVO.

Kester Mann, Director, Consumer and Connectivity at CCS Insight, said: “It’s great to see Vodafone accelerate its efforts around refurbished mobile phones. Buying pre-owned rather than brand new can significantly reduce carbon emissions at a time when protecting the planet has never been higher up the agenda.

CCS Insight’s recent consumer research for the UK shows that the share of people using a refurbished mobile phone as their primary personal device has more than doubled over the past five years to about one-in-ten. And encouragingly for future adoption, more than half expressed interest in taking a refurbished mobile phone next time they change or upgrade.”

A Vodafone spokesperson commented: “Our research and the 83% increase that we’ve seen in our sales of refurb devices shows consumers are seeking out alternative ways to be green and this is being extended to their tech shopping habits. By highlighting the huge environmental impact buying second-hand can make, we hope to encourage more of the country to lean into the benefits of buying a refurbished device.”

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Customers interested in buying a refurb device, can pick up the latest devices from Apple and Samsung on Vodafone’s reliable, award-winning network**. Devices such as the iPhone 15 from £31 a month (£20 upfront cost) with 8GB data and the Samsung Galaxy S23 from £36.50 a month (£20 upfront cost) with 3GB data.

Vodafone’s refurbished range comes fully tested with a 32-point health check and wiped of all previous data. Devices are more affordable and have a lower carbon footprint than buying a new device. They’re fully sanitised and for complete peace of mind, there’s a 14-day no-quibble return policy too. 

Stay up to date with the latest news from Vodafone by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter/X, as well as signing up for News Centre website notifications.


Notes to Editors

Research: From a consumer survey conducted in April 2024 by Censuswide with 2,000 respondents.

*based on Vodafone increase from FY23 refurbished phone sales to FY24 refurbished phone sales

** based on the calculation below: 

  • 38% of Brits will consider purchasing a new phone this year – 38% of 67m (ONS) = 25.5m 
  • If 50% of these people purchase refurbished – 25.5m / 2 = 12.75m 
  • Saving of 50kg (VF data) when purchasing a refurbished device – 12,750,000 * 50 = 63,750,000kg CO2
  • A 3-to-4 bedroom home in the UK uses on average 3100kWh of electricity per year. If the source is regular grid electricity, the CO2 emissions are 723kg.
  • 63,750,000 / 723kg = CO2 saving could power 88,174 3-to-4 bedroom houses for a year

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Sources re carbon savings from behavioural changes

Buying a refurbished phone – 50kg carbon saved

Source is a lifecycle assessment study (Erwann Fangeat, ADEME, et al, Assessment of the environmental impact of a set of refurbished products – Final Report (2022)), which found that a refurbished phone used for 2 years creates 24.6kg CO2e less carbon emissions per year when compared to a new phone used for 3 years (according to the study results shown on page 64). Over the 2-year period of use of the refurbished phone, this avoids around 50kg CO2e of carbon emissions. The study found that a refurbished phone has an 87% lower contribution to climate change (or ‘GWP’) compared to a new phone. The study also found that buying and using a refurbished phone, instead of a new phone, requires the extraction of 76.9kg less raw materials (page 64).

Travelling from London to Edinburgh by rail, instead of air – 150kg carbon saved

Switching to LED lightbulbs – 40kg carbon saved

Eating vegetarian, one day a month – 25kg carbon saved

Planting a tree – 25kg carbon saved

Halving weekly food waste – 5.6kg carbon saved

Cycling 10km instead of driving – 3.2kg carbon saved

Buying second hand clothes – 3kg carbon saved

**Reliable, award-winning network: The UK relies on Vodafone as a network provider as it: i) powers critical national infrastructure and 77% of emergency services, ii) has coverage in 99% of UK homes, iii) covers 96% of the UK and iv) has won numerous awards. See full details and awards on our Network page.

Vodafone EVO: lets you select a Monthly Device Plan Credit Agreement (3-36 months) with a monthly Airtime Plan. The device price will be the same whatever you choose. Device Plans over 12 months require a 24-month Monthly Airtime Plan. You can pay off your Device Plan early. If you do, you can then keep your Airtime Plan on a 30-day contract or leave. If your Airtime Plan ends for any reason, you will need to keep on paying your monthly Device Plan (either in full or monthly). Terms.

Lifetime Warranty: is an extended warranty covering manufacturer’s defects (on phones purchased via Vodafone directly), provided you have an active pay monthly airtime. Excludes damaged and tampered phones. Terms and conditions apply.

Battery Refresh: replaces your phone’s battery if it fails one of the Battery Refresh Tool tests. Available for up to three years depending on your plan. On phones purchased via Vodafone directly. Excludes damaged and tampered phones. Terms and conditions apply.

Lifetime Service Promise: means a) Lifetime warranty covering manufacturer’s defects, provided you have an active pay monthly airtime + b) Battery refresh replacing your phone’s battery (for 2 – 3 years), if it fails one of the Battery refresh tool tests. On phones purchased directly from Vodafone. Terms and exclusions apply.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

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