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Recycling Old Android Phones: What Materials Are Recovered?

  • By kuwaitigenius
  • June 26, 2024

Did you know that in 2019, nearly 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste (e-waste) were generated worldwide? That’s about the weight of 350 cruise ships! With e-waste being the fastest-growing waste stream globally, it’s crucial to understand the importance of recycling old devices, like Android phones and tablets, and what materials can be recovered.


Why Recycle Android Devices?

Management and Recycling old Android devices helps mitigate environmental harm caused by improper disposal. Phones contain toxic materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can leach into soil and groundwater, posing significant health risks. Moreover, these devices are rich in valuable materials that can be reused. For instance, recycling a million cell phones can recover 35,000 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium.

Materials Recovered from Management and Recycling

When Android phones are recycled, several materials can be recovered and reused:

  1. Metals: Phones contain precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium, along with common metals like copper and aluminum. For example, Apple reportedly recovered $40 million in gold from recycling old iPhones in 2015.
  2. Plastics: Recycled plastics from phones can be used to manufacture new products, reducing the need for virgin plastic production, which saves energy and resources.
  3. Glass: The glass screens of phones are processed and reused in the production of new glass items, including screens for new devices.
  4. Battery Materials: Lithium, cobalt, and other elements from phone batteries are recovered and used to make new batteries, helping to reduce the environmental impact of mining these materials.
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The Management and Recycling Process

The recycling process involves several steps to ensure the safe and effective recovery of materials:

  1. Collection: Devices are collected at designated recycling points or through mail-in programs. Companies like MobileMuster in Australia offer over 3,000 drop-off locations and free mailing services.
  2. Dismantling: Devices are manually dismantled to separate components. This includes removing batteries, circuit boards, screens, and other parts.
  3. Shredding and Sorting: Components are shredded and sorted into different material streams. Metals, plastics, and glass are separated and processed accordingly.
  4. Refining: Precious metals are refined from the shredded materials, ensuring that these valuable resources are recovered and reused.

Challenges in Android Tablet Management and Recycling

While recycling is beneficial, it also comes with challenges:

  1. Economic Viability: The cost of recycling can sometimes exceed the value of the recovered materials, making it less appealing for recyclers.
  2. Toxic Waste Management: Properly handling and disposing of toxic substances found in phones is crucial and can be challenging without the right infrastructure.
  3. Consumer Awareness: Many consumers are unaware of recycling programs or the importance of recycling their old devices, leading to low participation rates.

Conclusion: Promoting Effective Management and Recycling

Businesses looking to recycle their old Android devices should consider partnering with specialized recycling companies like Express Communication. This company ensures that devices are recycled responsibly, recovering valuable materials while minimizing environmental impact. Express Communication offers tailored solutions for businesses, making it easier to manage e-waste effectively.

By recycling old Android tablets and phones, businesses can play a significant role in conserving resources, reducing pollution, and promoting a healthier environment. Consider reaching out to Express Communication for your recycling needs and contribute to a sustainable future.

Read More Article:  Why Should Electronics Be Recycled?


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