The Afterlife of Your Phone

January 19, 2018
By Dabrowjp BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
Dabrowjp BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

With the vast amount of invancous in technology and new inventions popping up everyday it seems obligant to keep your old phone and not update to later tech. Though as the years pass on and the constant reminders of “New!” this and “New!” that many forget about the old device they once used constantly. They either end up tucked away in their homes or have been recycled in some way and form. Though where does your phone go when you recycle it?


For starters once your phone is recycled in the proper way many people seem to not know what happens and it’s fairly simply actually. Even with that in mine there are still some people who just recycle to recycle but don’t actually know they are making a difference. According to Telegraph’s Reporters, “Eight out ten people believe recycling 'makes a difference', but have no idea how” (T’s Reporters) These people later on will figure out that the items they recycle may appear in there life again without them even knowing. Your phone is one of those items that could later reappear in almost anything. Though, once the phone leaves your hands it is shipped, with many other phones to be evaluated. It is evaluated by how it performs in a series of test to see if the phone is good for use. However almost 70% percent of the phones are refurbished, so if the phone is in good condition, “it’s likely going to get refurbished and resold, either on the consumer market or to a charity. (Verizon’s HopeLine program, for example, donates phones loaded with 3,000 free minutes to domestic violence victims.) Other refurbished phones are sold in Latin America and Africa, to people who don’t mind using a secondhand, behind-the-times phone.” (Jen Quraishi). Though there is a different fate for the reject phones.


For the other 30% of phones that are either completely broken or unusable they are sent to a different departments. This new area is where phones are striped of many precious and reusable materials. Such materials commonly found in electronics are usually copper, gold, palladium, and platinum. According to the chart, the top 3 materials most in value are gold, plastic, and copper. Gold, being the most expensive material has a low abundance has an absurdly expensive, but in today’s economy the 0.5 kilotons, or 551.156 tons of gold found in e-waste worldwide would cost around $21,385,646,464.64 (21.4 Billion US Dollars)! Also not to forget the also abundant materials such as plastic and copper would also save a lot of money by recycling these materials rather than mining these materials. After these precous metals and plastics are striped from the phone they are then smelted and may find there way back into things you might have never thought was a phone.


Though, “...only about 1 million tons of over 3.4 million tons of e-waste generated in the U.S. in 2012 was recycled, resulting in a recycling rate of 29 percent” (Rick LeBlanc) many phones and other electronic devices do become recycled. Your phone could later be found in many things such as car tires, plastic bottles, new circuits, other appliances, and even your new phone could secretly be holding parts of your old phone you never thought you'd see again.


 



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