How many mobile phones have you owned over the past ten years? The answer to this question is no doubt more than one, especially if you have a mobile contract that allows for an annual upgrade. But have you ever wondered what you are throwing away when you discard an old phone?
There are 17 chemical elements in the Earth’s crust that are deemed rare, and each one of them is crucial to the smooth functioning of our developed society – they are found in our phones, computers, tablets, GPS systems, fluorescent lamps and MRI machines to name but a few devices – and China currently is the largest producer of them. However China has recently admitted that their wealth of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) is near depletion due to the huge demand for the latest technology. As such some companies are working on ways of recycling REEs from our outdated devices, and the Department of Energy is funding a number of projects seeking out alternatives to using Rare Earth Elements.
The team at vouchercloud have produced an infographic which details the current situation.