There are an estimated 80 million potentially toxic and redundant mobile handsets in the UK alone right now. There are so many old, unused mobile phones lying around that they actually account for one to two per cent of all electronic waste.
With the average phone user changing their handset at least every year on average and the rate of new models being released onto the market, the number of improperly discarded phones isn’t going to be decreasing any time soon.
What a lot of phone users don’t realise is that every mobile phone contains potentially toxic materials inside them and that they need to be disposed of in an environmentally safe method. There are several options available to you if you’re thinking of getting rid of yours: you don’t have to dump it in such a way that it’s heading straight for landfill each time.
Contact your phone manufacturer or network
Thanks to new, environmentally conscious recycling laws, manufacturers now have to comply with recycling rules. As a result, many manufacturers will accept your old handsets and other items for recycling, as long as they manufactured it in the first place.
For instance, Apple will accept old iPhones as well as iPads and iPods for recycling. Dell Reconnect goes further in accepting discarded tech from other manufacturers too, as long as you’re buying your new computer from them. Now, mobile phone networks are also running recycling programs, like Virgin Media phone recycling, where an old iPhone 5 can get you up to £245.
Donate it to a charity organisation
The bigger charities often offer phone-recycling schemes. The idea is that the charity will earn money for every phone collected and you’ll feel on top because you’ve donated to a good cause, killing two birds with one stone.
Whereas some phones will be recycled for parts, other charities may recondition the handsets so they can be donated to third-world countries. If you’re doing this out of altruism, be sure to check with the charity’s scheme and cause before you donate your handset.
Sell it, don’t chuck it
Why throw it away when someone else might be willing to pay you to take it off your hands? If you’re trading up for the iPhone 5C, for instance, what you may be forgetting is that there are plenty of people out there who’ll willingly pay you for your old handset.
If you’ve got a phone that’s a little older that doesn’t really have resale value, you could still sell the phone off for the parts inside it, which will still be of value to someone.
It’s alarming that cell phones are now rivalling old computers and monitors as the largest contributor to our gigantic e-waste problem. The toxins found in your phone are some of the most poisonous known to man, which go on to clog landfills and pollute the air and our groundwater supplies. Recycling your phone isn’t just a matter of convenience – it’s a matter of environmental and social responsibility.