Why do we need to recycle our Smartphones?


Fast-paced technology shift, low acquisition cost, and planned obsolescence have resulted in a rapid-growing supply and demand for electronic devices such as your smartphone. It aggravates the rising number of electronic waste around the globe. Canada, USA, UK, and other highly developed countries ship their electronic wastes to less developed parts of the world. Most often, their e-waste is improperly disassembled and burned. If dumped in a landfill, it can pollute the air and contaminate soil and drinking water. In addition, it can produce toxic chemicals which are harmful to dumpsite workers, children, and nearby communities.

Chemical elements of a smartphone (click to zoom)

Additionally, smartphones contain plastics and precious rare earth metals. Coatings of a smartphone are usually made of lead, which is a toxic chemical. When you are exposed to it in high levels can be hazardous to your health. Its circuit board can contain elements such as copper, gold, silver, lead, nickel, palladium, tantalum, zinc, and other raw elements that require a huge amount of energy and resources to extract and manufacture.

Therefore, these negative impacts on health and environment require long-term solutions. This is why we really need to recycle our old smartphones – a simple solution that helps.

Please watch the video of Kim Preshoff from TED-Ed’s Youtube channel for a clear visual explanation for this matter.

Image credit for infographics: Compoundchem.com (https://www.compoundchem.com/2014/02/19/the-chemical-elements-of-a-smartphone/)