Not much is made public about the refurbishment industry. But a large portion of it involves the smart recycling or disposal of the precious metals inside the phone.
Keep Dangerous Materials Out of the Dump
This is especially important, for if old electronics end up in unregulated garbage dumps, they will inevitably leak corrosive chemicals into the soil, thus contaminating the water table. These chemicals can include nickel, cadmium, mercury, and lead, all of which can take for than 20 years to decompose.
And decomposition aside, these chemicals also pose a great risk to human and animal health. Lithium is the main ingredients in cellphone batteries and poses a risk to human and animal nervous systems and vital organs. Lead causes birth defects and brain damage. Silver harms the heart, liver, lung, and spleen, as well as the kidneys. Palladium likewise damages organs, and cadmium damages the skeletal system. And those are only a few of the chemicals found in cell phones.
The United States alone generates upwards of 2.37 million tons of electronic waste materials each year, according the recent EPA report. The EPA also estimates that Americans alone go through 130 million cell phones each year — a number that continues to grow as more people use smartphones as their sole source of communication. And considering that cellphones have an average lifespan of 18 months, the amount of e-waste their use generates is astounding.
Progress Is Being Made
But there’s good news too. Newer smartphones have fewer chemicals than smartphones of the past. This means manufacturers are getting better at making more environmentally-friendly products.
But that doesn’t mean that there should be less of an incentive to recycle phones. In fact, as more of the world takes to communicating with smartphones, the need for recycling has never been greater.
So do your part to convince your customers to trade in their old smartphones. It’s good for the environment, and what’s good for the environment is, happily enough, good for business.
Got questions about how you can do your part to keep smartphones out of landfills? Then contact us today.