Here’s What Becomes Of Billions Of Discarded Phones

The problem is getting worse with each passing year. Tenor

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Across much of the globe, consumers have grown accustomed to replacing their smartphones on a pretty regular basis. Apple and other manufacturers release a new version roughly every year, and early adopters always rush to be among the first to grab the latest and greatest device.

But have you ever considered what becomes of those old phones? The truth might make you reconsider your habits.

An increasingly serious problem

Individuals around the world own a combined 16 billion phones, which equals out to about two for each man, woman, and child alive. Of that number, experts say roughly 5 billion will be tossed out this year.

Although there are many other items that are frequently tossed into landfills, the problem with discarded phones and related tech products is that the rate of waste continues to escalate year after year.

Fortunately, it is possible to recycle such devices, and each smartphone has a significant amount of valuable materials — such as silver, palladium, gold, and copper — built into its hardware.

The truth behind e-waste

Even though it’s possible to recycle smartphones and other electronic devices, many consumers opt to keep their excess electronics until they finally get tired of the clutter and toss them out. If you’re like me, your house has a junk drawer somewhere with a collection of old phones gathering dust.

Here are some of the top reasons that people say they haven’t gotten rid of an old device:

  • They think they might use it again.
  • They feel as if it still has some monetary value.
  • They attribute sentimental value to it.
  • They believe it might be worth more in the future.
  • They aren’t sure about the best way to discard it.
Chris Agee
Chris Agee November 30th, 2022
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