In today’s society, it seems like everyone is glued to a cell phone. Improved technology has led to an over-reliance on mobile phones making them essential daily gadgets across the world. The average American will buy a new phone after every 18 months.
This results in about 100-120 million phones that are discarded every year. With such high amounts, old cell phones have become the fastest growing form of electronic trash. This is causing a serious problem because electronic waste contains many hazardous materials. More so because many people opt to throw away their phones clogging landfills, polluting air and groundwater at an alarming rate.
You can make a difference and stop the pollution by recycling your cell phone instead of carelessly discarding it. Thanks to innovative technologies up to 80% of materials used in cell phones can be recycled and reused. Recycling helps us all by:
- Conserving the environment.
Cell phones contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. When cell phones are thrown away and are burnt, these toxic metals are released into the environment polluting it. Even when they not burnt, they end up in the soil slowly contaminating water resources and the landfill. With the statistic of a new cell phone after every 18 months, then the toxic materials pile up destroying the environment even faster. With recycling, these hazardous materials are recycled and reused without polluting the environment.
- Saves energy.
Did you know that by recycling a cell phone you are conserving energy? One recycled cell phone saves enough energy to charge a laptop for about 44 hours. A record 130 million cell phones are thrown away annually, if recycled they could produce enough energy to power over 24,000 homes a year.
- Helps curb mining process.
Cell phones are made of valuable minerals that are increasingly becoming scarce yet can be recovered if recycled. From one million recycled cell phones, we can recover 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium. This cuts down the amount of minerals mined to create new cell phones.
- Prevent health problems.
The toxic materials contained in cell phone not only cause environmental pollution but also pose serious health concerns for both animals and humans. For example, lead is known to cause cancer and affect cognitive functions in humans. Mercury is can be fatal to animals and can cause severe sensory impairments, muscle weakness or memory loss.