The ‘e’ in eSIM should probably stand for ‘environmental’ or earth-friendly, because these planet-loving downloadable SIM cards are making a real difference in protecting Mother Nature.
So if you’re someone who loves to travel, you can save money and save the planet by choosing an eSIM instead of a traditional plastic SIM card. An eSIM is weightless, convenient, has zero carbon footprint, and can be downloaded and installed on your device instantly, without visiting a retail location.
eSIM vs. physical SIM card: Comparing the environmental impact
Ask any seasoned traveller, and we bet they’ll have a strong opinion! The debate of eSIM vs. SIM card is very much alive, and even the most diehard SIM card swappers are coming around to see the benefits of using eSIM instead.
When you travel with an eSIM, you’re making your travel experience smoother and more comfortable. As an added benefit, using an eSIM also means you’ll be sparing the earth from sustaining long-term damage that will hurt folks today, along with future generations.
eSIMs are 100% digital products
For decades, traditional plastic SIM cards were the go-to for travellers looking for mobile data in another country. But now that it’s so easy to download and install an eSIM (digital SIM card) and use it to connect to networks all over the world, travellers are loving the convenience of an all-digital product.
Nothing has to be physically inserted into your phone or tablet, and nothing needs to be removed to free up space. An eSIM might come with a new carrier plan (as more devices are being manufactured without SIM card trays and running solely with eSIMs), or you can add other eSIMs for travel or short-term use.
eSIMs don’t require packaging
When you’re ready to install your eSIM on your phone or tablet, eSIM installation is as simple as tapping a button, scanning a QR code, or pasting in a few codes. Then when you’re ready to use the data, you an activate your data package by tweaking a few phone settings to change your data source to your eSIM.
eSIMs can’t be stolen and tossed
Nobody likes to think about the worst-case scenario when they’re traveling, but it’s important to be prepared for it. Should you end up getting mugged or having your phone stolen while overseas, a travel eSIM will protect you in ways that a regular SIM card can’t.
If your phone is lost or taken from you, an eSIM can’t be removed and used by bad guys to learn your number and steal your identity. (The same can’t be said for a SIM card, which can be easily taken out of a phone.) It’s nice to know that a travel eSIM card comes with an extra layer of guaranteed protection.
eSIMs can’t be littered or trashed
Unlike traditional plastic SIM cards, you can’t misplace an eSIM or drop it. That means an eSIM can never become litter on the ground, trash in a can, or otherwise clutter up the earth. Your eSIM comes with built-in security since it’s already a part of your phone.
eSIMs never expire, so you might want to keep your eSIM installed forever in case you return to that location and want to top it up with more data. But if you ever do want to delete it, you can trash it virtually. No mess!
eSIMs don’t need to be mailed
When you’re preparing for a trip, you don’t want to be watching the mailbox like a hawk, worrying about why your SIM card hasn’t arrived yet. These SIM cards are often shipped with the data preloaded, so you have no option but to wait for them to show up (hopefully undamaged).
If you do order a physical SIM card and it finally arrives in the mail, you’ll probably find it’s wrapped in layers of protective film, plastic, and cardboard … and it likely includes a thick paper instruction manual with a glossy cover. What a waste!
eSIMs won’t end up in a landfill
Physical plastic SIM cards might seem tiny, but every year, thousands and thousands of them end up clogging landfills all over the world. Each year, physical SIM cards are responsible for more than 18,000 tons of waste.
Using an eSIM is a great way to cut back on this debris and reduce pressures facing our environment. In addition to cutting back on plastic waste, using a travel eSIM reduces the overall carbon footprint and caps unneeded energy consumption.
eSIMs don’t contribute to plastic pollution
Plastic continues to cause immeasurable damage to the planet, and an overabundance of plastic pollution has been linked to the spread of toxic chemicals impacting both the soil and different water sources. Plastic pollution has also played a role in advancing global warming, while putting endangered wildlife at even greater risk. All the more reason to use an eSIM instead!
Using an eSIM automatically cuts back on plastic pollution, while also lowering any economic incentives linked to the production of physical SIM cards. When you choose an eSIM for traveling, you’re not just reducing the plastic waste of SIMs, but you’re also decreasing the harm of plastic used for packaging traditional SIM cards.
eSIMs aren’t affected by the chip shortage
Although billions upon billions of physical SIM cards have been shipped out to travellers since they arrived on the market, the long-term feasibility of this doesn’t look good going forward. This is apparent when observing the persistent crisis of chip shortages, along with limited consumer spending abilities to help facilitate production.
In 2022 alone, more than 4.5 billion SIM cards were shipped out. Though moving ahead, all signs suggest this level of production and distribution won’t be viable for the environment or the economy.
Use an eSIM, protect the environment
Many people think of traveling the world and taking good care of the earth as separate, mutually exclusive matters, but they don’t have to be. eSIMs are quickly becoming more popular and widely recognized as the superior option, and you can play a role in a healthier, greener earth by ditching physical SIM cards for eSIM next time you travel.
1. Install your eSIM.
2. Activate your data package.
3. Check your roaming settings.
Be sure you’re avoiding roaming charges by verifying your phone is set correctly.