Where we are right now?
A lot has been written about how good 2017 was and how 2018 will be.
And there's a good chance that you've read most of those articles on your mobile device. And this is no surprise, as there are more than 224 millions smartphones in use in the United States alone right now. And this number is expected to grow even more in 2018 until it reaches 237 million units.
According to WorldWatch Institute, users discard cell phones after an average of just 18 months in the United States. Given this rapid turnover, environmentalists believe manufacturers and policy makers should work together to ensure the reuse, recycling and proper disposal of lead-containing cell phones to protect the health of the humans and natural environment.
What is the impact?
Many components of mobile phones are considered toxic like arsenic, lithium, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc. These poisonous substances may leach from decomposing waste in landfills, seep into groundwater and contaminate the soil. Metals build up in the soil, can then enter the food chain and in sufficient concentrations may cause health problems.
But not just the dumping of mobile phones is dangerous for the environment. The production of new mobile phones contributes to climate change by using up energy and virgin materials which release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. It is estimated that up to 90% of these greenhouse gases can be saved by recycling materials from mobile phones.
What can we do to help?
Keeping the toxic elements of mobile phones out of the environment is easy. Follow the three environmental principals of:
Reduse: Be a smart consumer and think twice before you upgrade or replace your mobile phone. Maybe your old phone still does the job and you can save the money for a new one?
Reuse: Many people are looking for simple phones, so when you upgrade see if you know someone who might be happy using your old phone.
Recycle: When your phone has come to the end of its life donate it for recycling. It is easy and free.
If you find this article useful don't forget to share it with your friends. We're living in a world of finite resources and it's our responsibility to use them wisely. It may not seem much at first, but even by protecting your phone so you can use it for more time can have a big impact in protecting the environment in the long run.