All You Didn’t Know About Recycling Cell Phones

recycle-mobile-phoneHave you always wondered what happened to your old cell phones once you dump them in the trash or give it back to the stores? Where do they go, into the landfills, or are they refurbished to be sold again?

There are many benefits of recycling cell phones and yes, it is possible to do that. There are ways to recycle your old phones in ways that doesn’t cause more e-waste and harm to the environment. Slowly people are growing more conscious about cell phone waste, which is becoming as big a problem as dumped computers and monitors.

Statistics show that as of now, only around 10 % of the total cell phones used in the U.S are recycled. Not only that, if you add the fact that on an average, every American gets a new phone every two years or so, leading up to a disposal of around 130 million phones every year. That is an astounding 65,000 tons of e-waste.

Why should you recycle cell phones?

There are a few good reasons why the world should be recycling cell phones:

If you recycle a single cell phone, it saves energy which can be used to power a laptop for 44 hours. This means that if all the 130 million phones could be recycled, hypothetically speaking; there would be enough energy to power over 24,000 houses for an entire year.

Cell phones contain precious metals, copper and plastic. If even 1 million phones are recycled, 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, palladium at 33 pounds and copper at over 35,000 pounds can be recovered. Cell phones also have precious metals like platinum and zinc.

If you recycle one million phones, it is enough energy to give electricity to around 180 US homes for an entire year.

On the other side, these devices also contain hazardous elements like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and bromine. These cause terrible damage to the environment and can lead to serious illnesses if they pass into air, soil and groundwater. Throwing cell phones into landfills paves the way for such contamination.

How to recycle your old phone

Don’t toss it into the garbage, or stow it away in a drawer. There are quite a few recycling programs that collaborate with schools and community centres to collect cell phones. You could also donate it to a charity. These non profit organisations often collect phones and then sell them to manufacturers who then refurbish or recycle these phones for their parts.

What happens to the recycled materials?

Most of the elements recovered from sued cell phones have some user or the other. The metal, plastic parts and the rechargeable batteries have definite recycle value.

The metals are used in industries including jewellery, electronics and automobile manufacture. The plastic is recycled and then made into parts for new gadgets. It is also sued in plastic products like furniture, packaging material, car parts, etc. Rechargeable batteries can be recycled to manufacture other battery products.

E-waste is a critical problem in today’s world which is already over-polluted. Cell phones will soon overtake computers to become the biggest component of e-waste. Already, toxic electronic goods are poisoning our natural resources which are so crucial to the survival of living beings. With all the convenient recycling options available, you don’t even need to take a huge effort to give your old phone for recycling. Do your bit to keep Nature clean. Even a single phone is a small step.

Guest article written by: Roy Jones is an environmental activist and online campaigns coordinator for a non-profit organisation. He has been facilitating campaigns for [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]electronics recycling Kansas City[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]electronics recycling Kansas City[/tp] for the past eight years. Roy loves spending his free time coaching soccer to the neighbourhood kids.

1 thought on “All You Didn’t Know About Recycling Cell Phones”

  1. Thanks for explaining to me that the cell phones we usually use contain metals, copper, and plastic. It made me wonder how these materials get recycled by huge companies since they’re not exactly environment-friendly. I just hope that they dispose of or at least manage them properly to avoid harming the environment.


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