Mobile Phone Recycling
With the increase of electronic product consumption, the risk of e-waste, has also increased manifold. It is growing at an alarming rate to the point of becoming a global crisis. Developed countries are creating huge amount of e-waste while the developing nations are not that far behind. The bad news is that the numbers are steadily increasing. E-waste consists of various recyclable metals, like ferrous and non-ferrous metals, along with different kinds of plastics. Extracting these metals from mobile phones is not easy because they are well integrated into each other.
Recycling E-Waste is Way More Difficult
Recycling electronic products, like smartphones, is way more complicated than recycling paper and other single component materials. Most importantly, the disposal of e-waste is a major concern because the majority of people do not understand where and how to dispose of old gadgets. Because of the complicated nature of smartphone recycling, many people dispose of them improperly causing the harmful chemicals inside to dissolve into natural resources like waterways and soil, harming our atmosphere. Collection and recycling of obsolete products are becoming immensely important because natural resources are depleting, but the need for making more of these products is quickly rising.
The risk is even higher when the collected waste is not processed in the proper manner at the end of life stage of the electronic device. Harmful substances leak into the environment posing a grave danger to health and safety of living beings. Not every country follows the rules and regulations regarding proper disposal and correct processing of old gadgets to save the environment. Experts are of the opinion that optimization of the value chain is imperative to receive the best value for the economy as well as for the environment. Each and every phase of the recycling process carries immense importance because the steps impact one another.
The Different Phases of Recycling Mobile Phones
- Sorting- This is the first process of mobile phone recycling.
which involves dismantling the phones to get hold of the batteries, printed circuit
boards, chargers, handsets, metals, paper and cardboard packaging and
- Batteries- Batteries are sorted by their chemical type. The
lithium ion and nickel hybrid batteries are processed to extract nickel, cadmium,
and cobalt. All nickel-cadmium batteries are processed to remove nickel, copper,
- Circuits- Circuit boards are dismantled and shipped to centers
where they process them for precious metals like gold and silver and semi-precious
ones like lead and copper.
- Casings- The plastic in mobile phone casings is shredded and
utilized to produce composite plastic products such as pallets.
- Accessories and Assorted Plastics- Copper wire are delivered to
local recyclers for extraction. Mixed plastics and other accessories are shredded
and recovered from the ferrous and non-ferrous metals for reuse. The plastics are
used to manufacture shipping pallets while the metals are used to produce other
- Packaging- Packaging is segregated into plastic and paper which
are sent to local recyclers for processing.
Being aware of these stages encourages the mass to contribute to the movement as well as the practice of recycling mobile phones. By knowing what is done and how it is done, people will find more interest in trading or donate their smartphones for the purpose of recycling. After all, it is high time to make people aware of the dire consequences of electronic consumption. Throwing old electronic devices to landfills is not an option. They should reach the recycling centers so that natural resources and our planet could be saved.