Refurbished Boom at a glance

Solutions for an e-waste footprint heavy sector

As opposed to a second-hand device, a refurbished phone is one that has previously been owned but is resold by a professional retailer, meaning it has been repaired, verified and standard-guaranteed.

With issues such as planned product obsolescence and product launch hype feeding an increasingly unsustainable sector, refurbishment retailers are picking up on a market opportunity that furthermore leaves an important positive environmental impact.

Yet to find a significant presence in the USA, the ecological tendency of the mobile sector under the looming shadow of EU policy (including a proposal of reduced tax on refurbished products) has seen a rise in investment in the past months. The challenge today is to reassure the consumer of a guaranteed lifespan.


Created in 2014, the French company Backmarket has a series of successes to its record, including investment capital of 110 million euros in 2020, its development in 7 European countries and the USA, and an overhaul of the validation process to ensure the quality of product battery life.


In April 2020, Certideal obtained 8 million euros from from MAIF Avenir and BNP Development. Certideal provides a strong level of guarantee on the quality of the refurbished products, including a Test with no less than 32 control points and a certification, allowing a guarantee of 18 months, in comparison to competitors that offer 6 months.

"Refurbished mobile phones is the perfect alliance between low prices and ecology."

Laure Cohen, founder Certideal

RE by Orange

"Re", or collecting, recycling and refurbishing, to accord a second life to old devices is the aim of telecom giant Orange. For mobile phones, the target set by Orange by 2025 is for 10% of sales volume to be refurbished products.

"This program illustrates our desire to strengthen our commitment to the circular economy in all of our activities and practices."

R2 Certificate

Established in 2015, supported by Microsoft, PC Rebuilders and Recyclers and SERI provides R2 Certified computer refurbishing companies with R2 Ready for Reuse labels that each contain a unique serial number. The labels are attached to each R2 Ready for Reuse device, allowing purchasers to look up the serial number and view the testing record for that unit to check it is in good working condition.

Source: Forbes, Le Monde