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Sunday, 9 January 2011

What components of my mobile phone can actually be recycled?

We've been talking in the last few weeks about recycling on our blog and it got us thinking about what can actually be recycled on your mobile phone?

While most articles immediately talk about the fact that leaking batteries are what we need to save from mobile phones (as these tend to be toxic, they can leak and are dangerous to simply dump into a landfill), there are many other components that neglected to be spoken off in the meantime.

As per industry leader, Nokia, the typical material content of a mobile phone are as follows:
  • Plastics - 45%
  • Metals - 35%
  • Glass & Ceramics - 10%
  • Battery Electrodes - 9%
  • Precious Metals - 0.11%
  • Other - 0.9%

With the trend moving towards smart phone technology, one thing that has become more prevalent of late has been the use of LCD screens.  What actually does is an LCD screen made up of?  Some of the research we did showed that apart from the actual LCD, which can be re-used, there are layers of metal, glass and / or plastic that make up most LCD screens.  These are all components that any standard recycling facility accepts and re-uses.

Most phones use a lot of plastic in their design as seen in the above data from Nokia.  Recycling plastics can be quite complex depending on the type of plastic used but how do recycled plastic products typically end up being used?  Well, they're used often times to make plastic chairs, tables, stools or buckets.  Think of that next time you're sitting on any garden furniture as it could've been made out of recycled plastic from mobile phones.

In many mobile phones, you also tend to find metals like aluminum, copper, gold, iridium and silver.  In fact one ton of old mobile phones can yield 100KG of copper.  This is more copper than you'd normally be able to extract from a ton of copper ore.  Apart from reducing the carbon footprint of the planet, by recycling, we're also able to be more efficient in the use of these metals.

Even the little SIM card in your phone is made of plastic and metals, which can be recycled when given to a credible recycling plant.

It's up to you to do your bit for the environment and to educate those around you.  Programs like the Jacky's Eco-Exchange program are there to be used.  If you'd like more information, you can click the following link.

Details of more links that were used to compile this post can be found as below:

Posted By:

Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics