Why Recycling Mobile Phones is Important

Technology is a massive part of our daily lives and for most people, key to this is the mobile phone.  With over 90% of the population currently owning a device of some form, there is a massive market for the production and sale of phones.  But this also leads to a massive number of redundant and disused phones as we regularly upgrade to the latest model.  So what do we do with our old phones and why is recycling them so important?

Unsettling facts

Many people already own a mobile phone in the UK and around the world numbers are continuing to increase.  The smartphone has recently become the most popular way that adults in the UK access the internet, overtaking the laptop or PC for the first time.  In fact, the number of households that only have a mobile and no longer use a landline is up to 15%.  There were some 89.9 million mobile subscriptions by the end of 2014 and most adults change their phone every 18 to 24 months.

So what happens to the old phones?  One of the biggest concerns are the mobile phones that end up in landfill sites.  So called electronic waste or E-waste is expected to rise by 33% by 2017 and this is on top of the increase in waste at landfill sites in general.  We currently create more rubbish than we can dispose of and some of this, such as the components within mobile phones, is toxic and potentially dangerous.

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There’s little chance we are all going to stop owning and replacing our mobile phones – and why should we when there are a number of options available to safely recycle these old phones?  Mobile phone recycling is on the increase, though it is still only around half the population that make use of these services.  Some 10% of households even have as many as four unused devices lying around in drawers and cupboards in their houses.

There are various routes you can take for recycling your mobile phone and some of them even make you cash.  For instance, using a mobile phone recycling comparison site is a great way to find out the options available without spending a lot of time on the job.  These sites allow you to see the prices offered from a number of big names in the recycling business to get the best deal for your old devices.

Another option is to donate your old phone to one of the charity fundraising schemes currently available.  O2 are one company offering such a service even if the phone doesn’t use their network.  Their scheme is called Think Big and involves making a donation to a young people’s charity for every 250 phones recycled.

Helping out

You may ask what happens to your old phone when you use a recycling company?  Does it still end up in a landfill site?  The answer is a firm ‘no’ with most companies having a zero landfill site policy.  Even a mobile phone that no longer works can be recycled because its parts can be used – it’s a bit like a scrap yard for phones where the parts are used to repair other phones.

These reconditioned phones are then sent to parts of the world where buying a mobile phone is out of the question.  For example, in some of the least developed countries in Africa, the demand for phones is huge but disposable income to pay for them is non-existent.  These reconditioned phones can help these people communicate with friends and family but also access education, healthcare and even build their own business for a better life for their children.

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