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Mobile Recycling – Old Phones and What to Do and Not to Do!

Old phone recycling

What Should You Do With Your Old Mobile Phone?

Mobile phones are at record demand levels, with new releases every year encouraging consumers to replace their old models with the latest innovations. But what happens to those old mobiles? Usually, they are locked away to gather dust, or thrown away and added to what is known as e-waste.

But what is e-waste? For those that don’t know, e-waste is a term used to describe electronic items either nearing or at the end of their life cycle. Items range from everyday ones such mobile phones, tablets, and laptops to stay at home items like kitchen appliances and TV’s. E-Waste has become an increasingly important sustainability issue for a number of reasons, such as containing severely harmful toxins or being able to procure substantial reusable energy from its materials.

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Mobile Recycling

So why should we care about recycling our old phones? Well, for one they contain vital resources that can be reused for greater purposes. Just 6,000 mobile phones contain over 100kg of copper, 3.5kg of silver, over 100g of palladium, and over 300g (!) of gold. These are precious metals, meaning they have high economic and reusable value e.g. High-end jewelry.

If that’s not enough, then consider the environmental implications of recycling an old mobile. If just 1 mobile battery (lithium-ion) was recycled, it could prevent the contamination of 60,000L of water. For perspective, that is the same amount of water needed to fill 3 Olympic sized swimming pools! Water isn’t the only beneficiary here though, as 1,000,000 recycled mobiles would have the same affect on green house gas emissions as taking 33 cars of our streets.

We benefit as well, as the materials used in 42 mobiles can be reused to provide enough energy to power a household for an entire year! Money is also there to be made, as many recycling companies purchase your old electrical items before sending them off to be recycled and reused.

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What You Can Do

So what can you do to help this cause? You can start by searching drawers looking for any old mobiles (and any other electrical devices) you might have discarded. Once that’s done, get in touch with a recycling company or use an online comparison site such as OnRecycle to find the best price available for your discarded mobile.

If you think that is too much hassle, then there is a much easier option… pass it on. You can pass your old phones on to charities that can then raise vital funds by selling the phones to recycling companies themselves. It is also a good idea to ask any friends or family members if they have an interest in taking old phones off your hands. Alternatively, you can sell them on online marketplaces like eBay or Gumtree, or take them down to a local car boot sale.

Mobiles contain such valuable resources that throwing them away are simply just a waste, but with the environmental and health hazards that come with dumping them in landfills, mobile recycling takes on increased significance. So next time you’re due that long awaited upgrade, remember the 3R’s (reuse, recycle, reduce) and help improve and protect our environment.

Guest Post Author: Adam Vowles

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