Critical elements found in mobile phones are likely to be ‘endangered’ in the future, research suggests

Smartphone elements
Table of Contents

Studies show we need to recycle more devices to ensure the recreation of new electronics

Can you imagine how technology will be in 100 years time? A recent study by the Royal Society of Chemistry has found that the rare elements we use in today’s technology will be on the edge of extinction following poor consumer recycling habits. These resources are crucial for creating the technology we use in our everyday lives. From your mobile phone and desktop laptop to industrial machinery and solar panels, almost everything has them.

The number of electronics owned within businesses and consumers is on the rise. It’s apparent that the percentage of people recycling their devices at end-of-life is not good enough. In our lifetime, each person in the UK will produce around three tonnes of electronic waste. This is estimated to grow as smart, wireless and connected devices increase in production.

Only 18% of us aim to recycle

Research suggests that 82% of tech users have no plans to recycle or reuse their devices after they become outdated. Just over 14% plan on selling their devices and 18% aim to recycle them. The remainder holding on to spare outdated handsets.

Most of these users (37%) keep their devices due to concerns and worries around data security. While almost a third (29%) said they didn’t know where to go to recycle old tech.

But a mobile phone contains around 30 different naturally-occurring elements including indium, tantalum, silver, arsenic, yttrium, and gallium. These 6 materials are under rising threat from increased use.

“As individuals, reuse and recycling are the best options available to us.” – Robert Parker, CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Around 40 million devices are stockpiled in the UK when these devices could be recycled instead, extracting those rare natural elements we need. This is truly a scary figure that is having a major impact on our environment.

We must opt to reuse, reduce or recycle old devices to make a difference but we need to act now.

By choosing a reliable and environmentally friendly ITAD recycling partner that offers secure data erasure, you can do the right thing whilst having peace of mind around your data.

When refreshing your mobile phones, make sure you think about the impact you could have. Ensure redundant handsets are either recycled or reused or choose to upgrade your devices less regularly.

The campaign set in motion by the Royal Society of Chemistry is encouraging manufacturers, retailers, and the government to take more responsibility when it comes to electronic waste. We’d like to take this chance to help companies reduce their stock-pile waste and keep on top of any smartphones that are not in use which could be recycled.

Our recycling programme

S2S can offer a secure recycling and reuse service for mobile handsets, complete with our data erasure guarantee and certified destruction for devices of no value. We operate with a zero waste to landfill approach, achieving a truly eco-friendly process.

Read more about our recycling process.

Do you have an IT recycling requirement?

Get in touch