Recycling old cell phones – how, where and why?

What do you do with your old cell phones when you buy a new model? do you give to younger siblings Parents? Do you sell on auction sites? Or maybe toss it in a drawer to keep out of sight?

Recycling is the only salvation

salvation from what? From drowning in a sea of ​​e-waste. According to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), There are currently 16 billion telephones of various types in use around the world. Of that by the end of the year 5.3 billion become e-waste. This summary has been prepared just in time for International E-Waste Free Day, which falls on October 13th.

It is difficult to operate on such a scale. So let’s refer to a quantity that is easier for us to understand with our small brains. Let’s assume these (hopefully) recyclable phones averaged 9 millimeters thick. If they were placed on top of each other in a single pile, its height would be… 50,000 kilometers. This distance is 20 times the distance from the Earth’s surface to the International Space Station, or 1/8th of the way to the Moon.

E-waste contains many recyclable components and can usually be used to recover gold, copper, silver, palladium and other raw materials [telefonów komórkowych] it ends up in drawers, closets and garages or is thrown into garbage cans destined for landfill or incineration.WEEE Forum

Realizing such a large waste is the motto of this year’s International Electronic Waste Day: “No matter how small, it can be recycled.” The initiative was developed by the WEEE Forum with the support of over 120 organizations from 70 countries worldwide. In Poland, the official organizer of the event is ElektroEko, which, together with UNEP / GRID Warsaw, implements a program of educational activities for consumers, media, institutions and entrepreneurs.

And indeed – it’s very easy to throw small devices into a dusty box with cables, adapters and a bunch of other completely unnecessary “kids”. Overall, they are of great value on a global scale.

Smartphones Smartphones Photo:
A bunch of old smartphones in a drawer? Recycle with it!

But why mess it all up?

To understand why people are so prone to hoarding discarded electronics, WEE decided to conduct a study involving 8,775 European households in six European Union countries. What do you think were the most common responses from people when asked why they put their phones in a drawer instead of recycling them? Here you are:

  • Maybe I will use it again in the future – 46%
  • I plan to sell / return – 15%
  • It has sentimental value to me – 13%
  • May have value in the future – 9%
  • I don’t know how to get rid of it – 7%
  • I didn’t have time, I forgot, it doesn’t take up much space – 3%
  • I intend to use as a substitute – 3%
  • It contains sensitive data – 2%
  • I have no reason to recycle it – 1%

In fact, many people still keep e-waste at home instead of giving it a second life. For example, Samsung has revealed that a program to recycle old phones the company has sold since 2015 has only donated 0.0019% of the devices it produces. It is believed that some of these are still in use, but many likely ended up in ordinary landfills.

In Europe up to 1.4 kg of e-waste per capita ends up in the general bin every year and in an average household up to 5 kg of unused electronic devices per person are landfilled.

How do you get rid of e-waste?

We may not be sure how to get rid of e-waste. side suggests:

Disused devices can also be left in the store when buying new devices of the same type, eg when buying a new television. It is enough to bring it to the store where you buy new equipment. Large-scale stores accept e-waste without having to buy new equipment.

In addition, municipalities often organize collections or set up collection points for used electrical and electronic equipment. just be careful Another option is to use one of the ElektroEko points.

It’s certainly not worth keeping used equipment at home. If we know that such waste creates dust in our households, it is worth cleaning up. Even if they are small.

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