Why should you recycle your cell phones?
Like other electronic wastes, cellular phones in their circuit boards and batteries, contain such harmful heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium. Dangerous chemicals like brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are also found in the plastic casing of many mobile phones. According to Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, author and leading authority in biomedical sciences, lead has been found to cause development problems in children and diminishes brain functions even in adults. Cadmium exposure can lead to “liver and irreversible kidney problems (often fatal), respiratory and bone density problems. Compounds containing cadmium are also carcinogenic.”
Most of our landfills today are scientifically designed to contain chemicals leaking from the solid waste, but will you gamble the health of your children and your’s on the chance that the mobile phones and other electronic wastes we so carelessly throw to our landfills will not leach chemicals into our underground water systems? The likelihood of these dangerous and deadly chemicals seeping into our water systems is just too high. By dumping phones and other electronic wastes in our landfills, we are practically poisoning ourselves.
Is there money in cell phone recycling?
Yes. As a matter of fact, cell phone recycling can be quite lucrative. You can make money by selling your used or old cellular phones to recycling and refurbishing companies like Pacebutler Corporation in Edmond, OK who will pay as much as $50 for each unit you turn in and will even pay for the shipping of packages containing at least 4 units. The refurbishing company then turns around, and refurbishes these mobile phones to be marketed to wholesale buyers abroad, bringing communication capability to people from developing countries in South America and other areas.
On a much larger scale, recycling companies like Umicore in Belgium, who process unserviceable phones and e-waste, are able to extract such precious metals and other materials from them like gold, silver, platinum, copper, coltan, plastic and glass, etc. from these. Did you know that there’s more gold found in one metric ton of cellular phone and other electronic waste than 17 tons of gold ore excavated and refined through the traditional mining process? The good news is, after the entire recycling process is over, less than half of 1% of the entire electronic waste processed, is deemed unfit to be returned to the production cycle and is then just burned for energy generation.
The amount of precious metals present in each cellular phone are basically just trace amounts, so its impractical and patently dangerous (because of the industrial chemicals necessary) for you to try and extract these minerals from your phone at home. It may seem like a joke, but it was in the news last month – a man who fancied himself as an “urban miner” got poisoned by the industrial chemicals he was using, while “mining” cellular phones. The giant recycling firms make money by processing tons and tons of phones and other electronic waste.