Circular Economy

According to the World Resources Institute, every year more than 100 billion tonnes of resources enter the economy and only 7.2% of them are recycled or it gets a second life again, figure down from 9.1% in 2018. An unsustainable situation given that the extraction of natural resources is the cause of 90% of the loss of biodiversity and water stress on our planet.

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2024, more than 82 billion kg of e-waste is expected to be generated by 2030, we need to change the way we do things, and the circular economy is the answer, as it allows us to grow using fewer resources and avoid the indirect carbon emissions associated with the manufacture of new equipment. At Telefónica, we are increasingly circular in our processes, with our suppliers and customers.

Eco-efficiency in our processes

We promote the circular economy in our network transformation by prioritising the reuse of electronic equipment and, where this is not possible, extracting value from materials through recycling.

In this way we reduce the consumption of new resources and the generation of waste. For Telefónica, the best waste is that which is never produced in the first place that’s why we have set ourselves the goal of moving towards becoming a Zero Waste company in 2030.

Circular Economy Targets

Moving towards becoming a Zero Waste company

Customer Premise Equipment (CPE)


Refurbished and reused

Network equipment


Reused and recycled

Mobile devices



Mobile devices


Reused and recycled

Waste generated


Reused and recycled

Thanks to reuse and recycling, some resources such as gold, copper or aluminium can be used in a new product

In 2023, we generated 45,756 tonnes of waste, 16% less, and recycled 97%. Furthermore, we reused 46% of the total electronic equipment collected and recycled the remaining 54%.  In this way, we reused more than 4.5 million pieces of equipment from operations, offices and customers, 6% more than the previous year, avoiding 366,000 tonnes of CO2 associated with the manufacture of new products. In terms of network equipment, we reused and recycled 99.7%.

313,805 Reused network equipment
88% Refurbished routers and decoders
>4.5 Millions of electronic equipment reused

This is possible thanks to the following initiatives with which Telefónica promotes the circular economy in its processes and with its electronic equipment:


Blockchain and Big Data for the reuse of routers and decoders.


Omni-channel model with E2E approach to mobile phone reuse.


Platform for the reuse of network equipment.


Waste management and recycling platform. 

In addition, we establish measures to improve efficiency in the use of resources and reduce their consumption, through preventive maintenance of infrastructure, energy efficiency, 100% renewable electricity consumptionefficient use of water and reduction in paper consumption (in 2023 alone, the felling of 74,000 trees has been avoided thanks to electronic invoicing).

Suppliers as partners

We cooperate with our suppliers to integrate environmental criteria into home connectivity equipment that is designed by Telefónica and bears the logo of one of the Company’s brands (Movistar, O2 or Vivo).

Our ambition is for all new models of this equipment brought onto the market from 2025 onwards to integrate environmental criteria, such as, for example:

70% recycled plastic in its casing
HGU Wifi 2ºGen 56% less energy consumption THAN previous model
63% repairable

Together we are also working to incorporate circular criteria in the procurement of electronic equipment, such as repairability, recyclability and durability, taking as a reference the criteria set out in the ITU-T L.1023 recommendation on circularity assessment of electronic equipment.

In addition, We integrate the circular economy philosophy into our relationship with suppliers, essential allies in this transition. Therefore, within the framework of our Global Supply Chain Sustainability Policy, we introduce a series of requirements so that they carry out their activity with the utmost care for the environment.

We drive circularity for our customers

We offer our customers repair services and options to buy back and refurbish mobile phones to extend their useful life and give them a second use. In this way, we reduce resource and energy consumption by avoiding the manufacture of new devices.

In addition, we support and raise awareness among our customers about the environmental impact of their phones through the Eco Rating label, which encourages innovation and the reduction of environmental impacts. With our Eco Smart digital solutions for businesses, we leverage the potential of Industry 4.0 to optimise resource consumption and facilitate circular strategies.

“Digital technologies are driving a profound transformation of our economy”

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