One of many possible strategies in sustainable design is making things modular, so that if one part breaks it can be replaced without having to scrap the larger unit. Some products are designed this way already. Dyson vacuum cleaners were made so that almost every part could be replaced. Many products aren’t repairable at all, with small electronics being particularly notorious. iPods are sealed units that they can’t even be opened, let along fixed – although plenty of self-repair sites will show how you how to defy Apple’s restrictions.
Phonebloks is an idea for how to build modular mobile phones that could be easily repaired. It’s an important idea, because millions of phones are thrown away every year. Phone technology changes fast, and the EPA estimates that 416,000 mobile devices are discarded in the US every single day. About a quarter of those are recycled in some way, the rest go to landfill or are incinerated.
Creating upgradeable and repairable handsets seems like a potential solution, and Phonebloks is a project that aims to highlight the possibilities and generate sufficient interest that the phone companies start exploring the idea. I’m not sure you can make something quite as simple as the demonstration in the video, but I’d love to find out.