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Mobile Phone Recycling

By S21

Your mobile phone recycling could help the environment, and ultimately yourself. This article aims to explore why it's important to recycle your mobile phone, rather than dump it or place it in a drawer to be forgotten.




Toxic material

Mobile phones contain a variety of potentially harmful materials. These include mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium.

A mobile phone that reaches the trash bin is sent to a landfill or incinerator. An incinerator, for obvious reasons, causes damage to the environment. A landfill may not seem such an obvious danger to the environment, but upon closer inspection it is clear that mobile phones could pose a potential danger even if just dumped at one of these. The potential danger with a landfill is that the hazardous materials used in mobile phone manufacturing could leak into the soil, and ultimately find their way into a water system. This not only endangers the eco-system, including fauna and flora of all kinds, but humans too.

A range of materials used in mobile phones is on the EPA's PBT list. PBT stands for 'persistent bio-accumulative toxins'. These toxins accumulate in animal and human fatty tissue, and are associated with a range of side effects, such as causing nervous system damage, developmental problems and cancer.

Recycling is your way to help the environment, and yourself

In the UK, mobile phone recycling sits at a very low ten per cent of all users recycling their old phones. With roughly 90 million mobile phones in circulation, 80 million of these phones are likely to be sent to a landfill, incinerator or your top drawer. With the first two options, your phone could cause damage to the environment. With the latter option, you're wasting money.

The next step

So where should you go to recycle your phone? There are a few options available should you choose to recycle your mobile phone. One is to sell your phone to one of the numerous mobile phone recycling companies in the UK. Another option is to donate the phone to a charity (for instance WaterAid).

Once your mobile phone is sent to the recycler, a variety of options awaits it. If it's in a not-too-bad shape, it is refurbished and sent off to connect people in poor or developing countries to their loved ones. If however, the phone is in such bad shape that it is impossible to refurbish, it is recycled. Lithium and nickel is extracted from the battery. Metal and plastic parts are stripped from the charger and any accessories. Mixed plastics are reworked and reused. Likewise, precious metals are extracted for use in new phones.

Whatever your choice, it could have a massive impact on not only environment, but also on societies across the globe.

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