How and why you should recycle Smartphones

According to the Yale Environment 360 Report, “Despite the high cost and demand of metals critical for energy technologies, very little of this metal is recycled”. According to Yale, a company into environment protection, there is 50lb of Gold and 550lb of silver in approx. million smartphones. That is just one of the reasons why you should recycle your smartphones.

recycle smartphones

Reasons to Recycle Smartphones

We have talked about gold and silver two precious metals above. It is not feasible to simply throw away all those precious things. We seldom give a thought to what goes into making a smartphones because we are too busy using them.

Among the other reasons are, polluting agents. Some parts of smartphones cannot be recycled and they, if mixed with water, air or soil, can damage our environment. Thus, the landfill sites are filled with both precious metals as well as polluting agents which together spoil the surrounding areas to an extent that they cannot be used for anything.

Another reason why you should not throw away smartphones is that they contain certain rare materials. If these rare materials are exhausted, there will be no electronics – or in other words, it will become hard to get good quality electronics, including a new smartphone. These rare metals can be recycled and used in new phones or any other types of electronics so that the supply is not interrupted thereby avoiding need for lower quality substitutes that may create smartphones that are not good enough for us to play with them day and night.

If you love smartphones, do not throw them away into dustbins after buying new phones or when the current one is damaged. Give them for recycling. You may sell them for a price to shops that accept broken smartphones or second hand cellphones. These shops may sell usable phones for a lower price and send the unusable smartphones to recycling departments of different companies so that they can be refurbished. If refurbishment is not possible, the manufacturers of smartphones and tablets etc. can use the phone parts in different new products that go a long way.

How to Recycle Smartphone

In an article on the effects of e-waste, we wrote that almost all electronics contain some non-degradable parts and some parts that when interact with air or moisture, can spoil the atmosphere – making it unfit to grow plants or live in places adjacent to landfills. Already plenty of damage is done. Though the government is taking its own steps, it also becomes the responsibility of citizens. They should not treat electronics, including smartphones, as normal garbage. They should not be thrown into dustbins.

There are two ways you can recycle smartphones. We’ve talked about one method in the above paragraphs. Sell the smartphone you are not using, to a second hand phone shop. There are many, some of them offering pick up facility. You can find such stores locally or on the Internet. You may also use an online search engine to find out second hand smartphone buyers in your area and then use any maps app to get the exact location.

The second idea is to send them back to manufacturer. Almost all electronic manufacturers are now recommending recycling of the goods. Just open the website of any electronics giant and you will get an address to where you can send your phones and other electronics that you are not using them.

Smartphone manufacturers are already thinking along the same lines. In their 2013 People & Planet Report, Nokia outlines its goal to create a “recycling culture,” and its plans to investigate the drivers and options for recycling locally, reports Microsoft.

Remember, if you are holding back unused smartphones, you are holding back manufacture and sale of low cost cellphones. Your act of recycling smartphones helps in creating cheaper handsets for people having lower budget for new phones (or any other kind of electronics). It is okay if you remove the battery and keep the smartphone with you carefully to look back at it someday in future. In that case, just make sure you keep both the phone and its battery in a dry place.

Precautions to take before recycling smartphones

When you decide to sell a smartphone you have to be careful and ensure that you have deleted all data from it and that is is difficult or impossible to recover it. Here are a few precautions you may want to take:

  1. Log out of all online accounts and delete browsing history.
  2. Backup your contacts, text messages, photos, documents, etc. and then erase this data from the phone.
  3. Remove the SIM card and any internal storage such as a microSD card from the phone before you dispose it off.
  4. Perform a factory reset of the phone to ensure that system and application data, settings, downloaded apps, account data, etc are all removed.

If you wish to add something, please comment below.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN