What do you do with your old phone when you trade it in? If you are one of the responsible people who trades or recycles it, then good for you.
However, according to the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Waste Forum, most mobile phones that are permanently switched off simply end up in drawers, closets and garages, or end up in bins, landfills or incineration.
And considering the fact that in 2022 alone 5.3 billion mobile phones will be thrown away, what you do with your devices really matters.
WEEE, the international not-for-profit organization that focuses on the collection and treatment of electrical and electronic waste, has spoken out ahead of International E-Waste Day on Friday 14 October.
The slogan for this year’s e-waste day, which aims to highlight the importance of recycling tiny devices, is “Recycle everything, no matter how small”.
Pascal Leroy, managing director of EEE waste, said that this year’s campaign focuses on small items “because it is very easy for them to accumulate unused and unnoticed in households or tossed in the regular waste bin. What people tend not to realize is that all of these seemingly insignificant items have great value and together add up to huge amounts on a global scale.
Indeed, to help people better understand this staggering figure of 5.3 billion, WEEE said that if phones had an average depth of 9mm and were stacked on top of each other, the pile would rise 31,000 miles (about 50,000 kilometers). That’s 120 times the distance of the International Space Station and one-eighth the distance to the Moon.
The advantage of recycling mobile phones and other electronic devices is that it gives manufacturers access to non-renewable natural resources such as gold, copper, silver and palladium, as well as other components that can be reused in new products.
To find out why so many people keep their old devices instead of recycling or repairing them, this year WEEE conducted a survey of 8,775 households in six European countries. The most common reasons for keeping old devices were:
– I might use it again in the future (46%)
– I plan to sell/give away (15%)
– has sentimental value (13%)
– It may have value in the future (9%
– I don’t know how to throw it away (7%)
Keeping them in a drawer is one thing. But throwing old devices in the trash is an even bigger problem because it creates a huge amount of unnecessary waste that requires energy and resources to manage.
So if you have an old phone that you’re thinking of throwing away, or any electronic device that’s gathering dust in a closet, seriously consider recycling it. Digital Trends has a handy guide for people living in the US, and those in other countries just need to do a quick search online.