Top Reasons Why Smartphone Recycling Matters

Top Reasons Why Smartphone Recycling Matters

Paula Napolitano |

It is estimated that an average cellphone user replaces the unit once every 18 months. About 5.3 billion smartphones are thrown away each year and only about 12.7% are actually disposed of well or go through smartphone recycling. If you put that into perspective, these phones stretch to 50,000 km if stacked on top of each other. 

There is a need to take quick steps to salvage the electronic waste problem. More smartphones need to be reused, repurposed, or recycled. In this article, we shall explore phone recycling in detail and related information on eco-friendly technology.

Environmental Impact of E-Waste

E-waste makes up 70% of all toxic waste. Unfortunately, 80% of this waste is sent to incinerators and landfills, where it releases harmful toxins into the air and soil. These toxic substances include lead, arsenic, mercury, selenium, cadmium, flame retardants, and chromium. With 1 billion cellphones produced each year, we are headed to a catastrophe if no recycling initiatives are taken into consideration. 

The environmental impact of smartphones is huge. The toxic substances explained above are known to cause cancer, mental retardation and a host of respiratory conditions. Others make the soil around landfills unusable and poison water systems. Over time, they kill the ecological balance of an area and kill off sources of livelihood.

Benefits of Smartphone Recycling 

Smartphone recycling comes with various benefits to the environment, as we shall see below. We shall explore some of the major benefits of phone recycling.

Raw Material Extraction 

Smartphones are made of many parts, most of which are mined from the ground. Mining has serious ramifications for the environment. First, mining depletes other valuable resources. It also leads to the destruction of the earth and the release of toxic substances. 

Recycling reduces the environmental impact of smartphones. There are no earthmovers required to extract the materials, and the energy-intensive process of refining the materials. Besides, there are no toxins released during the process.

Energy Savings

The manufacturing process is energy-intensive. The high-energy requirement means that more energy will be produced and more greenhouse gases will be produced as a result. One of the benefits of phone recycling is that it reduces the need to produce so many phones, which, in turn, reduces the energy requirement for the manufacturing process.

Reduction of Landfill Waste

When landfills are filled with e-waste, the toxic substances in the smartphone leak down to the other. It makes the land and water sources around the landfill toxic too. Over time, there is degradation of the ecosystems, which leads to the death of plants and animals and the emergence of various conditions in humans. Most landfills are located in third-world countries, where communities are likely to be more affected by the degradation.

Recycling initiatives are a reliable e-waste management tactic. It diverts e-waste from landfills and saves the environment from a catastrophe. In the end, there are fewer landfills and every reusable material is taken back to the market.

Economic and Social Impact 

One of the benefits of phone recycling is that it creates jobs for economies. The e-waste management industry is a multimillion-dollar sector worth over $57.8 billion and grows at a CAGR of 15.7%. Supporting recycling has a positive impact on local economies. It brings a source of livelihood to communities as they take care of their environment. 

Refurbished phones also close the digital divide between the rich and financially challenged communities. These sustainable electronic devices ensure that the poorest in the community can access technology at a lower price. Smartphones open up communities for e-business, financial wellbeing and other convenient interactions. Their availability empowers communities to make positive changes to their lives.

The Role of Consumers

Consumers have a role to play in enhancing recycling initiatives and keeping the world green. They should stay informed about e-waste and recycling initiatives happening around the world. 

Every initiative requires the input of consumers, as they have the said devices. When they embrace such initiatives, they help reduce the number of smartphones that end up in landfills.


There are several e-waste management initiatives around the world. Popular ones include the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership (GESP), a collaboration between the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations University for the monitoring and reporting of e-waste data. There is also the E-waste Challenge, which creates a circular economy for electronics. 

One Drum, a partnership between Call2Recycle Inc., Cell Block FCS and ERI, created a method to collect batteries conveniently around the globe. Switzerland has three producers responsibility organizations (PROs): the Swiss Foundation for Waste Management (SENS), the Swiss Association for Information, Communication and Organizational Technology (SWICO Recycling), and the Swiss Lighting Recycling Foundation (SLRS) that manage e-waste around the country. There are also local trade-ins and recycling programmes around the globe. Check for a program in your area.

How We Can Make a Difference

There are several ways you can make a difference as a smartphone consumer and help reduce electronic waste. First, you may donate your smartphone to electronic donation programs near you instead of throwing it away. 

Alternatively, you may check if there are organizations that allow for trade-ins for better devices. You pay less for the devices and get the latest technologies available to you. 

You may also choose refurbished phones. These pre-used devices become sustainable electronics as they extend the lifetime of the phone. You also get high-quality devices for just a fraction of the cost of a new device. Given that most smartphones can be upgraded with new software and a few components, you do not miss the new features by going for refurbished ones.

About Wisetek Market 

Wisetek Market provides quality refurbished phones made from quality brands. We have a team of qualified technicians who check all smartphones for performance and issues before they are released to the market. We support sustainability and environmental care. Therefore, we promote eco-friendly technology, recycling, and reusing electronic devices. 

We also sell other electronics such as refurbished laptops, refurbished monitors, refurbished tablets and other devices. Head to our website to see what electronics are on offer and pick one that meets your needs. We have made purchasing your favourite device easy by providing enough information for each of our sustainable electronics.