Hundreds of millions of cellular phones are disposed of every year
Now, don’t get any crazy ideas by believing that your mobile telephone device has been manufactured from anything but recycled materials. Do you believe that old machinery such as airplanes just disappear into the darkness overnight? No… they get recycled like a great part of the materials our days. Do you know how expensive it is to extract new aluminum metal from the ground, or how much precious metal is being used every year for making new electronic devices?
According to recent studies, about a hundred million mobile telephone devices are being disposed off every year all over the world, fact that spawned a new recycling business, which unlike all the previous recycling industries makes real profit and keeps the landscape clean at the same time.
“The New York Times” argues that, in the U.S., a mobile telephone device is being replaced only after about a year, and China alone, due to its ever increasing economic power, disposes of more than 200 million cellular phones every year.
Some electronic recycling businesses, such as the Unicore Belgium company, have technologic processes that enable to melt, extract and separate about 17 different metals from discarded telephones and other forms of waste, including valuable metals, such as copper and gold. “The New York Times” reported that a cellular telephone could in fact contain a quantity of precious metal, equivalent to the value of a U.S. dollar.
Nevertheless, not all recycling companies tackle the same problem. Others, such as the ReCellular company, gather the discarded telephone devices, refurbish them and sell them as second hand telephones in developing countries, where an average person cannot afford to buy a new telephone and would rather use a second hand one. Estimates reveal that even in developing countries, the mobile telephones can represent about 75 percent of all the telephones.
All is good until now. Or, is it? What about the rest of the components that present no value for the recycling companies? Well, business is business, and these remnant components, most of the time toxic, find their places in landfills, creating further environmental problems. Forget about a refurbished cellular phone, most of them will never even reach a recycling plant.