At Airalo, one of our primary concerns with the development and mainstream application of eSIMs is to reduce wasted plastic, make our business green and environment friendly.

One of the largest problems Airalo aims to mitigate is the production of harmful plastics through physical SIM cards.

Over the past 20 years, SIM production has attempted to cut plastic, packaging, and introduce environmental friendly processes. While these best practices claim to minimize plastic waste, cut air pollution, and slow down global warming, the energy, and scale of SIM card production continues to contribute to rising greenhouse gases.

While a small subset of companies are adding green energy practices, as well as building SIMs with recycled materials, the long-term sustainability by most SIM card producers is not sustainable.

Related: Sustainable Travel: 5 Tips for the Conscientious Traveler

Here are a few things you should pay attention to:

How much plastic do we waste in a year?

According to a study done by Our World In Data, we produced 380 million tonnes of plastic in 2020. To note, that's the most plastic and waste our world has seen to date. Within those 380 million tons of production, 4.5 billion SIM cards were produced. The effects of climate change become astronomical when you considered the natural resources, energy, packaging, chemicals, and materials need for a product that will be tossed after use.

Typically, when you buy a SIM card traveling, you'll use the card over a short/casual term only to toss it in the trash can once it has expired. By definition, that's a waste and a drain on our world. Even when you consider that some SIMs are recyclable, they are still the vast minority. On aggregate, SIM cards are not eco-friendly or environmentally friendly.

What technology we should be pursuing?

Whether it's the united nations, economic policy from the federal trade commission or environmental regulation from the environmental protection agency, our national and global policies should aim towards funding companies that develop renewable energy and create avenues of long-term sustainability.

Currently, the variable that's causing us to stagnate is the type of energy we use to fuel our ventures. It's easy to say that certain carbon-neutral policies like less packaging or recycled plastics make our business less harmful to the environment - but that's similar to saying 5 cigarettes a day is better than a full pack. It's viable in the short term, but not optimal in the long term when it comes to the sustainability to protect our planet.

Our consumption of natural resources and fossil fuels is primarily what's driving our carbon footprint with high energy consumption. While eco-friendly practices and eco-friendly products contribute to improving environmental health, the largest environmental impact a company can make is finding ways to create self-sustained and self-powered technology.

A top priority of sustainability could be a phone that has a built-in material that captures sunlight and transform the energy to power the device. On a smaller scale, various watch companies have managed to create efficient watches that use solar energy to power the unit. The watch company also found ways to use recycled materials and sustainable packaging.

While green energy will be the top priority for future generations, the more expensive cost in the short term generally implies our manufacturing processes will continue to have large environmental impacts in the next few years to come.

Importantly, market viability for green energy comes down to the people involved and the educated decisions we make in the market. You have the power in the market, as you can choose which company to support with your money.

How to become sustainable

There's no one way to make our planet fully sustainable, instead, it's about creating a series of better practices that in an aggregate will move us towards a green future. Here are a few suggestions you can start implementing into your daily life:

  • Use recycled materials
  • Minimize food waste
  • Use products with minimal packaging
  • Use green light bulbs
  • Minimize use of harmful chemicals
  • Minimize use of plastic bottles/ don't drink bottled water
  • Minimize yard waste
  • Buy products that use less water production
  • Seek out earth-friendly product packaging
  • Create renewable sources of clean water
  • Buy nature-friendly cleaning products
  • empty rooms and buy less in general
  • Protect business interests that focus on green energy
  • Use old electronics
  • Use a programmable thermostat

You can also consult environmental groups or a non-profit organization to determine if a product, practice, or service is environmentally friendly or environmentally harmful.

Related: When eSIMs turn into water

Why you should switch to eSIM

When it comes to viable phone technology in the long term, eSIMs are far more efficient and sustainable than traditional physical SIMs.

eSIM stands for "embedded" SIM card, so instead of having the plastic SIM external to the device, the SIM is already within the phone. This means the avid travel won't be using and discarding SIM after SIM after SIM, no, instead you will be able to download data packs directly to your phone for the area you're in.

With an eSIM you can:

  • Use your mobile network for local data
  • Cellular service to call, contact and remain connected to other phones and devices
  • Connect, screen, scan, store, search, activate, and download data to your device
  • Keep your number while still being able to switch your phone line
  • Never have to worry about being hit with roaming charges
  • Download and pay for a plan that makes sense for your data needs
  • Activate your eSIM plan with a QR Code instead of inserting a chip
  • Tap the Airalo app to switch your data plan to a local, continental or international plan
  • Max usage by choosing subscriptions to shorter plans all the way to longer plans (based on need)

Our physical free services are not only convenient, but they are also exponentially more green and sustainable when it comes to minimizing waste on our planet.

At Airalo, we aim to make a real impact because SIM cards and phones are some of the most upgraded, transferred and discarded products we use on a daily basis. 4.5 billion is a huge number, and it's a number that has a very real impact on our environment.

Using an eSIM is an ethical choice, as that supply of plastic SIM cards is only being made to match the demand. Collectively, if we switched to using eSIM, fewer and fewer tons of plastic would be wasted each year.

To note, the largest problem still remains, which is the production of harmful natural resources and fossil fuels. But as we take a step in the right direction, eSIM technology will continue to become more eco-friendly as the modes of our technological innovation change.