Your mobile phone may have overstayed its welcome with you, but it can still be refurbished to be used by someone else for another 5 or 6 years, or dismantled and the valuable component parts recovered and re-used or recycled.
So what happens once it is in the hands of a mobile phone recycler?
When your old mobile phone arrives at the mobile phone recyclers, it is graded as re-usable, requiring repair or un-repairable.
If it can be re-used, after repair if necessary, it will be sent to stores, distributors and wholesalers in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America. In these countries mobile phones although still very expensive are the number one form of communication because landline access is limited. Mobile phones are therefore the easiest and most convenient way to communicate and do business, including helping aid workers stay in contact with isolated communities.
If a mobile phone is not working and cannot be refurbished, it is recycled in accordance with EU legislation on waste electrical and electronic equipment. Its components and parts are recovered to fix non-working mobile phones that have been sent to the mobile phone recycler. These repaired phones are also sent to developing countries.
What can’t be recovered for re-use is recycled. For example batteries contain nickel which is used to produce stainless steel, cobalt and cadmium to make new batteries; circuit boards contain small amounts of gold and silver that can be used in jewellery and other products handset housings and casing are made of plastics that can be shredded and used to make products such as fence posts and pallets; accessories are made of plastics and metals that can be shredded, sorted and then used to make new plastic or metal products.
As much of 90% of an old mobile phone is recovered or recycled leaving only 10% to be disposed of as rubbish!
So if you have an old mobile phone lying around, why not recycle it and tell your family and friends about the benefits of mobile phone recycling?
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Mobile Phone Facts