Shift GmbH

Member since: 08/2019

Active in: WG E-Waste

Shift GmbH

At its core, SHIFT has a simple mission: to do as much good as we can while doing as little damage as possible. Since 2014, brothers Carsten and Samuel Waldeck have been producing smartphones manufactured under fair conditions at SHIFT's in-house manufacturing facility. The makers of the first smartphones designed and built in Germany have staked their company's future on their ‘modular’ (i.e. ‘repairable’) design. This design stems in part from the firm's desire to enrich the technology sector by coming up with the most sustainable techniques and concepts for preventing electrical and other waste. But that doesn't mean SHIFT is compromising on design and quality. After all, as far as SHIFT's founders are concerned, there is no point in producing a phone under fair conditions unless it works properly and looks great too. That's why so much love and attention goes into every single SHIFTPHONE. The SHIFTPHONE is currently the most modular and sustainable smartphone in the world. In recognition of this status, both the company and its products have been honoured with variety of awards, including the ‘Hessischer Gründerpreis’ (awarded to entrepreneurs in the German Federal State of Hesse) and the German Federal Ecodesign Award.

Less than 20% of smartphone users use their phones for longer than two years. These shortened life cycles are one reason why, according to a UN report, 50 million tonnes of electrical waste are generated every year, of which only 20% can be sorted and re-used. Our aim in manufacturing our products is to establish high-performance technology with a low environmental footprint on the smartphone market. With this in mind, we focus our efforts on our modular design concept, one that allows us to repair phones quickly and at low prices. This in turn means our phones have a long life expectancy and can be easily and effectively recycled. Achieving this aim while balancing economic, societal and environmental concerns is very important to us, and a major reason for our membership of the PREVENT Waste Alliance. We are also passionate about using new concepts and ideas to stop more waste being generated around the world, avoid the use of harmful substances, and get used raw materials and products back into the production cycle.

For us at SHIFT GmbH, doing business in the circular economy means making sure as much of the products and raw materials we use as possible finds its way back into the production cycle to be used in new products. In practice, that means reducing the amount of electrical and other waste associated with the development and use of a SHIFTPHONE to the absolute minimum. We achieve this primarily by ensuring our devices can be easily repaired, extending their service lives. All our SHIFTPHONES are also sold with a device deposit. This gives customers an incentive to dispose of their phones properly and not to leave them languishing in a drawer. The scheme is designed to encourage SHIFTPHONE users to return faulty phones or unwanted devices to us.
We then recondition them and put them back on sale. If a device is beyond repair, we remove all the components that still work so we can use them in other devices. Any faulty components are recycled to ensure that raw materials are reused; this technique is particularly effective with precious metals or sorted plastics. Plastic parts, such as the rear cover or used cases, are recycled 100% and used to produce new plastic components. Aerials, cables, batteries and other parts go to our partner RU Recycling- und Umweltdienst GmbH.