As more and more people depend on electronics, electronic waste also grows. If e-waste is not discarded properly, it poses serious consequences to the environment as well as to people’s health. This article talks about the reasons why properly disposing of your mobile phone is important.
There is a growing need for the proper disposal of electronic waste. That’s because technology continues to evolve. As newer, faster technology is being introduced, people are buying more and more electronic products like smartphones and constantly upgrading them. Businesses also incorporate the newest equipment to provide a competitive edge.
What’s more, current statistics suggest that people upgrade or replace their phones roughly every two years and the average human life expectancy in the UK is 81 years. This means that each British consumer will own more or less 35 mobile phones in their lifetime.
Everyone upgrades phones and other electronic devices far too frequently. As such, the now obsolete models of mobile phones, computers, gaming systems, and others are discarded on a regular basis.
These undesirable electronic products are being called electronic waste or e-waste. And if left alone to grow, even more, it will lead to the depletion of the Earth’s resources as well as the destruction of the environment.
What is e-waste?
Electronic waste or e-waste consists of various forms of electric and electronic equipment that have ceased to be of value to their users or no longer satisfy their original purpose. These include your mobile phones.
In fact, the United National University estimated that 49.8 million tonnes of e-waste were generated worldwide in 2018. It was also calculated that 9,023 mobile phones were being thrown away every second of the entire year.
Additionally, there are 1.4 billion devices manufactured every year just to satisfy everyone’s desire for the latest and greatest smartphone.
Mobile phones cannot be made without valuable minerals. After all, a myriad of them is required to power a phone. This includes silicon, carbon, calcium, coltan, iron, gold, copper, nickel, tin, and aluminum.
Another fact is that manufacturers need 200 times more components than those which end up in the final product. You may not know this but one 226 grams phone needs 74 kg of raw materials, and the production of one microchip requires 36 liters of water.
Why is it important to dispose of mobile phones properly?
With more electronics being bought and shelf life decreasing, the e-waste production is getting higher. E-waste must be discarded properly and it cannot simply be thrown into the trash.
As newer, faster technology is being introduced, people are buying more and more electronic products like smartphones and constantly upgrading them. (Photo credit: earth911.com)
The following are the reasons why it is important to dispose mobile phones properly:
- Hazardous materials. Many electronic devices contain hazardous chemicals, and that includes mobile phones. Smartphones contain harmful materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. When mobile phones are thrown away and are burnt, these toxic metals are released into the environment, polluting it.
- As previously mentioned, your smartphones contain harmful chemicals. However, it doesn’t only harm the environment but also your health. Smartphones contain mercury which has long been known to cause brain damage, muscular disorders, and other medical issues. Another common element in phones is the lead, which can cause cancer and brain damage.
- Electronic devices are a fertile source of valuable raw materials. By properly disposing of your old mobile phone, raw materials such as gold, aluminum, copper, and others can be stripped and reused to make new ones.
- You can conserve energy by properly disposing of your old mobile phones. Did you know that if you recycle one smartphone, you can save enough energy to charge a laptop for about 44 hours? A record 130 million mobile phones are thrown away annually. If these phones are recycled, they could produce enough energy to power over 24,000 homes a year.
How to properly dispose your mobile phone
E-waste must be discarded properly and it cannot simply be thrown into the trash.
There are several ways to properly dispose of your old phone. Here are some of them:
- Check with retailers. There are retailers that will take back old electronics you purchased at their stores. Especially if you bought new items to replace the disposed ones.
Several electronic manufacturers and retailers offer robust recycling programs that allow you to recycle old electronics. For example, Amazon offers gift cards for just about any kind of electronic device, as well as music CDs and video games. Apple, on the other hand, has the GiveBack program which offers up to $1,530 in gift cards or in-store credit for qualifying products.
- Donate to charities. If your old smartphone is still in good condition, there are actually many charities and senior facilities that accept electronics as donations. You can start by checking local organizations for older people and recreation centers.
- Find a certified recycler. There are several non-profit organizations and local communities that offer options to help you recycle old mobile phones. One of them is the Call2Recycle which offers drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries and mobile phones all over the US.
- Use a disposal service. Electronic waste disposal services are perfect for companies that have several pieces of outdated or unusable electronic equipment. This type of disposal service does all the work for you. From picking up the equipment to ensuring its recycled properly or disposed of following local and national regulations.
If you are still in the process of searching for a new smartphone to buy, another way you can help save the environment is to purchase refurbished phones.
By opting for a refurbished phone, you are basically extending the phone’s lifespan, thereby saving a properly functioning phone from ending up in the landfill. You see, using an old phone resets the clock and reduces the environmental impact.
You can learn all about UK refurbished phones by visiting this site: www.qwikfone.com/uk/refurbished/. If you are shopping for a new phone, you can find great deals for your preferred mobile device and get it at an affordable price.
Improperly disposing of your mobile phone not only harms the environment but also people’s health. You can protect the environment and ensure the safety of others with the help of professionals who are experienced in electronic waste disposal.
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