The smartphone industry is developing at a rapid pace with the vast majority of people on Earth now owning at least one phone. While some people are content to keep the same phone for many years until it dies a natural death, there are possibly an equal number of people who feel compelled to have the very latest piece of smartphone technology such as the latest iPhone contract or Android phone. In today’s world of technology ‘the very latest’ can change from month to month.
One corollary of this fast changing world of technology is that it causes a huge amount of waste, with hundreds of millions of handsets being dumped in landfills each year. Many people will feel compelled to upgrade to a new device once their contract has ended and will simply throw an old phone in the bin rather than put it to some good use, especially if it is a particularly old phone.
The problem here is that mobile phones contain many obnoxious chemicals and it is probably not good for future generations if we keep dumping them in landfills. These chemicals are what are referred to as ‘leachates’, which can leak out from a landfill and contaminate surrounding areas. Some of the leachates found in phones include lead, copper, nickel, antimony and zinc which can wreak havoc on lakes and rivers.
Then there is also the cost to the environment of sourcing these chemicals in the first place, with all the health impacts and child labour involved. There are specific dangers for phone production, with many people working in manufacturing plants in Asia suffering from muscular degeneration and damaged eyesight due to chemicals such as n-hexane used in phone production.
Now there are companies who will recycle your old phone when it is no longer wanted, helping to prevent a lot of damage to our environment. They can either take the phone apart and strip it of its components with the aim of using them again in future products, or they can give them a bit of a clean-up (‘refurbish’) and then sell them on to emerging economies.
But while many of these refurbished phones will make their way into the developing world they can also be a great option for people living in the developed world too. Aside from perhaps a few cosmetic blemishes refurbished phones can provide exactly the same experience as a brand new smartphone. The added benefit is that they will cost significantly less to purchase.
Recycling old phones in this manner can help to cut down on the waste associated with mobile phone usage and also help individuals to save money when buying a new handset. Although it is not always possible to buy the very latest handset from phone recyclers, you can still obtain fairly recent devices that are in excellent condition. If you are not bothered about having the very latest device, want to save some money on your next phone and help the environment in the process then a refurbished mobile phone deal may be something that you should consider.