4 Benefits of Mobile Phone Recycling to the Environment

Each year, people toss 90 percent of our old mobile phones in landfills. You’ll soon see why this is such a tremendous waste and threatens our ground water and soil. The average person gets a new mobile phone every 18-24 months, which offers us ample opportunities to do the right thing for planet earth, and for ourselves.

1. We Retain Recyclable Metals

The metals used to make mobile phones are also useful in making many other products, such as jewelry, automotive parts, and other electronics. Mobile phones are full of precious metals, including gold, silver, palladium, and platinum, as well as non-precious metals such as copper, tin, and zinc.

Not only are we saving these metals for reuse, we’re also cutting down on the pollution it takes to mine and refine metals to replace those we threw away in our used mobile phones. By recycling a single mobile phone, you save enough energy to operate your laptop for about 44 hours. One million mobile phones contain:

  • 75 pounds of gold
  • 772 pounds of silver
  • 33 pounds of palladium
  • 35,274 pounds of copper
  • Small amounts of tin, zinc, and platinum

2. We Retain Recyclable Plastics

The plastics that go into our mobile phones are also useful for making things such as patio furniture, automotive parts, packaging for shipping, and more electronics. When we recycle a mobile phone, we’re not just saving the plastic that went into making the old phone. We’re also eliminating the air and water pollution it takes to manufacture replacement plastic for what we threw away.

3. We Save Energy

If we recycled all the mobile phones thrown away, we could conserve enough energy to power 24,000 households for an entire year. Even recycling just one million of those phones would power 185 homes for that year. As energy costs soar and the world frantically scrambles to preserve our dwindling supplies of non-renewable energy sources, mobile phone recycling could relieve some of this burden.

4. We Eliminate Toxic Contaminants

Though lots of materials in mobile phones are reusable, there are also many toxic chemicals we desperately need to keep out of landfills. Some of the hazardous materials contained in used mobile phones are:

  • lead
  • mercury
  • cadmium
  • arsenic
  • brominated flame retardant

When we throw the phones away, these chemicals leak into the soil, drain into our reserves of groundwater, and eventually make it into our air, as well. By recycling, you never introduce these contaminants into the environment in the first place, making the whole world a healthier place.

Options for Recycling Mobile Phones

If you’re ready to toss an old mobile and upgrade, there are several options for safely, responsibly disposing of the old one. Consider one of the many programs that buy your phone (a great way to help fund your new one), or ask your local schools if they collect used mobile phones for recycling. Most charities also accept used mobile phones for a variety of good causes. Help save the planet one mobile phone at a time.