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Mobile Phone Recycling Decoded through its Various Stages for Users

mobile phone recycling

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
    plastics.
  • 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,
    and cadmium.
  • 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
    useful products.
  • 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.

About The Author

John Tiropanis is passionate about natural resource conservation and writes on various environmental concerns and related topics. He is also a gadget freak who likes to provide information on device recycling to encourage the same.

2 comments

  1. It is true that recycling of electronic gadgets like mobile phones is very difficult, as people all around the world use electronic gadgets but they are not aware of the harmful effects of e-waste. Therefore proper recycling is necessary to protect our planet from huge levels of e-waste. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

    • Thank you Mathew for your comment. We all have to be together to save our environment and try to spread awareness among people about the ill-effects of e-waste, and the processes involved in recycling mobiles and other electronic gadgets.

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