Monday, June 9, 2008

An SMS to Recycle

Who doesn't own a mobile phone nowadays? It's one of the most important items that almost every person in the world needs to conduct daily tasks at home, at work, on the road, and just about everywhere that one needs to be in touch. The mobile phone is also one of the most purchased gadgets in the world today. In UK alone, there are currently at least 90 million mobile phone users. Imagine…what would happen to all those 90 million phones when they break down or become obsolete? Many of which will soon be left in drawers or in boxes of junk in the garage or attic.

The tons of plastic and light metal materials that are used for manufacturing cell phones cannot be simply dumped in an open pit. Most of the plastic used for phone making are non-biodegradable. The solution? Recycle mobile phones. It is important that old or broken mobile phones are not just disposed of in a trash bin then transferred to a garbage truck. This is because mobile phones can also contain toxic substances that could pollute the surrounding area and cause severe damage to the environment. There are a number of substances sometimes found in mobile phones which can be dangerous for the both environment and human health if not disposed of appropriately. These include the following:

  • Cadmium - Although it is now being phased out, cadmium is a substance that is often found in old mobile phone batteries. Even though it is found in relatively small quantities, there is enough cadmium in a single mobile phone battery to contaminate over 600,000 litres of water.

  • Beryllium - Beryllium is a substance used in mobile phone contacts and springs which can cause lung damage.

  • Lead - Lead is often used to solder components onto the circuit boards of mobile phones. Lead can affect the nervous system, the immune system, and can even cause brain damage to children.

  • Brominated Flame Retardant - Brominated flame retardants are sometimes used to protect circuit boards and the plastic cases of mobile phones. These substances have been linked with both liver damage and cancer.

Research shows that only less than 20 percent of mobile phones are being reused or recycled. But there are many quick and easy ways of doing so. To keep our mobile phones environment-friendly, we can always:

  • Sell - Of course, it is possible to sell them through websites such as, especially if the mobile phone is still functional. This is a useful way to dispose of your good old mobile phones while making a few dollars out of it.

  • Free - There are other exciting initiatives that offer a great way to both pass unwanted goods on and also to source new items. An example of this is, which is an international service that allows users to post onto their area site details of unwanted goods that other users can come and collect. Several sites including, ReCellular, and MyGreenElectronics offer to buy back and recycle mobile phones from users.

  • Charity - There are some charities that work on behalf of certain disadvantaged groups and are always on the look out for reasonable quality used goods.

There are more than 500 million used mobile phones in the US sitting on shelves or in landfills, and it is estimated that over 125 million will be discarded this year alone. The problem is growing at a rate of more than two million phones per week, putting tons of toxic waste into landfills daily. If you have an old mobile phone and are not using them, don't leave them in your drawers, free them and you can likewise free the environment and yourself from hazardous toxic wastes.

Resource: Cecill Artates is an artist and a part-time writer for a women's magazine. Her interest includes writing articles on women's health, women empowerment, and protection of the environment.

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