The mobile phone,a simple gadget of communication that has risen up the ranks to form an integral part of our life.An everyday object that’s a extension of our own persona and caters to our various needs such as calling,video chatting,location services etc.Buying a new phone every time one is released in the market.But have we bothered to recycle one of these complex gadgets?. Well,Lets find out how.Read On!
According to recent trends and changing technology it is seen that the normal cell phone’s shelf life is only about 24 months for the average consumer.This means that newer cell phone models are constantly put up on the market to replace older ones.Cell phones are considered as perceived obsolescence, meaning that the object is still perfectly functional, but not stylish or modern, and you throw it away.This is as a result of the rapid progression of technology in the mobile industry.The newer cell phone models are continually on the rise and more outdated models are likely to end up in landfills.We need to keep in check else leads to high risk to the environment.
The actual danger of these cell phones is actually due to the precious metals and plastics that are complexly embedded in the circuit boards.Making them hard to recycle.But when these mobiles and other electronics are dumped in a landfill.These materials can pollute the air and contaminate soil and drinking water.As it further rains the heavy metals and soil contaminants seep through the soil and reach the underground water table.Cell phone coatings are typically made of lead, which is a toxic chemical that can result in adverse health effects when exposed to it in high amounts. The circuit board on cell phones can be made of copper,gold,lead,zinc,beryllium etc and other raw materials that would require significant resources to mine and manufacture.
But lets see how exactly we recycle these phone.It is a six stage process.As well as being highly efficient, this process provides a complete recycle of chemical compounds. That means it prevents damaging chemical compounds from fusing and threatening the environment.
First, phones are dismantled and sorted into the various components: batteries, printed circuit boards, handsets, chargers/accessories, plastics, metals and paper/cardboard packaging.These are sorted to be recycled by the appropriate methods.Batteries are sorted into their chemical types and their composition. All lithium ion and nickel metal hydride batteries are shipped,where they’re processed where they are processed for nickel, cadmium to make new cells.Circuit boards are stored and then shipped,where they are processed for precious metals including gold, silver, copper and lead.This is reused to make new boards.Pure plastic handset casings are shredded to create the wooden plastic fences and other secondary plastic products such as bags etc.The metal casing are then melted back and reused for new cases etc.Accessories and mixed plastics are processed.Packaging is separated into plastic and paper and sent to local recyclers for processing.
Yes,recycling the phone seems relatively simple.but why?. Lets have a look at the environmental benefits of recycling and the horrors of not recycling.Some facts about recycling.Only about 10 percent of the cell phones used in the countries are recycled.Recycling just one cell phone saves enough energy to power a laptop for 44 hours. Recycling one million cell phones also saves enough energy to provide electricity to 185 U.S. households for a year.For every one million cell phones recycled, we can recover 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 33 pounds of palladium, and 35,274 pounds of copper; cell phones also contain tin, zinc and platinum.This greatly reduces the demand on mining for minerals.
One the environmental side,mindlessly throwing away mobile in the trash has some serious environmental effects.The obvious being the leaking of heavy metals into the underground water table.Over time, these toxic materials can leak into the ground, where they can contaminate the water we drink, the plants we eat and the animals that live around the area.These toxic materials can cause all kinds of bad effects including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and even cancer. If you keep eating and drinking contaminated food and water, these toxins can build up in your body. If you eat animals that have been contaminated, you’re getting a double dose of toxins. What’s even worse, your body can’t properly process some of these metals and so they might take .years to get out of your system.So along with being bad for the environment,it also has negative effects on the health itself.
To help protect the environment, don’t put mobiles in with the rest of your garbage. Check with your local recycling centers or search on Google to see if they take electronic trash and look for other recycling places nearby.Many phone companies such as apple etc have recycling programs where they come take the device and recycle it for free.Some companies even offer to pay you for recycling.This itself is a huge encouragement to go out and recycle . The old mobiles itself is a rich resource of minerals and elements that can be reused.Be responsible and reuse.