There’s probably never been a better time to sell your old mobile phone. Business analysts IBIS World observe that the mobile phone recycling industry has grown, in spite of the recession, by a staggering 14 percent annually since 2008. With such growth it’s easy to figure that competition between the various recycling firms will mean that you can expect to get top dollar for your old device. And this is what you will get when you sell your cell phone to aptly named Top Dollar Mobile.
However, despite this growth in the recycling industry, the impact of the recession on our personal finances and increasing concerns over environmental damage from the disposal of a host of consumer items including electrical devices, only 11 percent of all mobile phones disposed of are recycled.
In fact, the actual figures are alarming: mobiles vastly outnumber other such e-waste as computers, TVs, monitors and keyboards, with 141 million units being disposed of in 2009 according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 152 million in 2010 according to campaign group the Electronics TakeBack Coalition.
This means that 135 million units were simply trashed, even though most mobile phones can actually be recycled, either resold as they are, reconditioned or dismantled for the recycling of many of their parts and, most importantly, the safe disposal of a range of toxic substances they contain. Researchers at the Ecology Centre disassembled 36 phones from 10 major phone manufacturers and found that every phone contained at least one hazardous chemical such as chlorine, bromine, lead, mercury or cadmium. Furthermore, the American Chemical Society consider nickel, antimony, zinc and copper – common components of mobile phones – to also be hazardous.
As far back as 2007, researchers from the University of California at Irvine estimated that more than 700 million mobiles have already been discarded or are stockpiled awaiting disposal. Add to that an average of around 140 million trashed each year and by now you've got a total of 1.6 billion discarded devices, most of which will be leaking their toxic cocktail in the land and, in all probability, the ground water.
The problem is such that in a November 2010 US Presidential Proclamation, Barack Obama noted that the increasing use of electronics and technology in homes and society raises the risk of improper handling and disposal of these products.
“Currently, most discarded consumer electronics end up in our landfills or are exported abroad, creating potential health and environmental hazards and representing a lost opportunity to recover valuable resources such as rare earth minerals," he said.
These valuable materials include silver, gold, palladium, copper and platinum. These valuable materials can be retrieved, which helps reduce mining and preserves resources. According to the EPA, "Experts estimate that recycling one million mobile phones can recover about 24kg of gold, 250kg of silver, 9kg of palladium and more than 9,000kg of copper.”
From the moment materials are extracted from the earth right through the manufacturing process and on to end-of-life disposal, every aspect of the life cycle of a phone requires resources and energy. Once that energy is harnessed in a handset, it’s up to us to handle this resource responsibly and to use it wisely.
While the mobile isn’t going away any time soon - and most of us will admit, it’s a necessary resource of the 21st century - we can reduce the impact these electronic gadgets have on the environment.
One of the simplest ways is to sell your mobile phone at Top Dollar Mobile, where you can make money on your old handsets, regardless of condition. If you run a business, offer a phone recycling point to your staff. When purchasing a new mobile, support brands that are doing their bit for the environment and look at ways to charge up your handset off grid. All of these are simple measures that can have significant benefit.
This article has been written by Top Dollar Mobile.
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