Let’s face it: the smartphone has become a pretty integral of our lives. Protection is key when it comes to keeping such a useful device safe, but even the best case or iPhone Holster cannot prevent the inevitable demise of our smartphones. Knowing 48% of cellphones are not being recycled beckons the question: where do smartphones go after they die? Do they rot in the ground, reincarnate into a new form, or rest in pieces?
Beyond just chucking it straight in the trash, you can trade it in, recycle it or even sell it. Depending on the phone’s condition, there are numerous websites that are willing to buy and resell your cell. Many retailers including Best-Buy Apple and Amazon have functioning recycling programs and are interested in your working or broken phones. Many of these recycling programs are even willing to pay in the 60-100$ price range for your mangled IPhone 5. So why would these companies value your deceased device? Upon further investigation during your smartphone’s autopsy, its gears and guts are more valuable than you think. Other than trying to fix your dead phone, manufacturers can rip them open for parts and precious metals. The average cellphone contains about 2 dollars worth of copper, gold and even platinum; in bulk, recycling these items can be extremely profitable.
With companies constantly upgrading their gear, some even using planned obsolescence, it seems like it’s up to us ensure our cellphones are discarded properly. It’s important to reduce your impact on local landfills that are being packed with hazardous waste and toxic materials like lead and lithium. These materials have even found their way into our drinking water. Some services like the Environmental Protection Agency can help you find a way to make sure your device end up in a safe resting place, and won’t come back to haunt you!
With this modern dilemma of knowing how to dispose of your short-lived electronics, we have to wonder who is responsible for insuring that our device lives as long as it can. Must the consumer be responsible for buying added accessories like bags, slips and cases or even insurance to feel protected? Or are the manufacturers holding back on additional protection that might not be cost-effective? Either way we have to find a cooperative solution that will reduce waste of useful materials and the disposal of harmful substances.