The Importance of Recycling Your Old Phones

old phonesImage by Wilfried Pohnke from Pixabay

In today’s digital world, almost everyone owns a mobile phone. Some of the best ones include iPhone XR, Galaxy S9 Plus, and Google Pixel 3A , just to name a few. Phone companies have even made it easy with deals to swap out old phones for a newer version.

This, together with the increasing demand for new technology, has resulted in millions of phones being discarded every year. The average person gets a new phone every 18 months. The old ones are left collecting dust on the shelves, with a huge number ending up in landfills. Phones have become the fastest growing form of e-waste. This causes a serious problems to our planet. Recycling remains the most responsible way to get rid of an old phone like if you’re looking to upgrade to the S10 from the Galaxy S9 Plus. Here’s why;

It Conserves Natural Resources

Phones are made of valuable minerals, including gold, zinc, platinum, silver, glass, iron, copper, and tin. These are increasingly becoming scarce. Recycling recovers these valuable materials from old phones. New ones or other products can be made. This cuts down the amount of raw materials extracted from the earth to create new products.

Protects the Environment

Phones contain toxic materials such as mercury, lead, brominated flame retardants, arsenic, chromium, and cadmium. When old phones are disposed of in landfills, these hazardous substances leach out and contaminate the soil, air, and groundwater. These toxic substances are piling up with the increasing amount of e-waste, thereby destroying the environment even faster. Recycling, on the other hand, allows for these materials to be re-used; plus, safe handling ensures they don’t pollute the environment.

Reduce Landfill Space

Waste that ends up in landfills takes up valuable space, not to mention phone components like plastic and glass take millions of years to decompose. Recycling your old phone reduces e-waste, which in turn saves unnecessary dumps and landfills.

Saves Energy

When old phones are recycled, new ones don’t have to be manufactured. This means that the energy that would otherwise be required to extract new materials is not used. Also, recycling old phones requires less energy as opposed to creating new ones. Did you know that recycling one old phone can save enough energy to power a laptop for about 44 hours? Imagine how much more energy we can save by recycling over 100 million phones that are tossed aside every year.

Prevent Health Problems

Prolonged exposure to the toxic chemicals contained in old phones poses serious health concerns for humans and animals alike. For instance, mercury is known to cause muscle weakness, memory loss, and even affect the nervous and immune systems. Lead, on the other hand, can affect cognitive function and cause cancer. Recycling old phones will ensure these materials are in good hands, where they can’t cause any harm.

Economic Incentives

Manufacturers are looking for more cost-effective ways to make mobile phones. As discussed earlier, recycling remains the most economically viable option for producing phones. Recycling old phones also creates new jobs for professional recyclers and a second market for recycled materials.

How to Recycle Old Phones

With all this talk on environmental sustainability, consumers have access to countless recycling opportunities. For starters, several websites can help you find a local E-waste recycling drop-off location. Also, most phone manufacturers and retailers have send-back programs that collect old electronics. They will get rid of them in an eco-friendly manner. Lastly, you can donate the phone to charity. These phones can be reused if they are still in good working condition. They may also sell it to professional recyclers and use the proceeds to fund their projects.

But before getting rid of your old phone, remember to erase any personal or confidential information so hackers can’t access your data.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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