Old Cell Phones Harm Planet
Ok, when I read this article from Climate Progress, I realized that new research shows cell phones and our electronics are worse for the environment than we generally think. To summarize:
- Only 3% of phones get recycled, nationally; 40% stay unused in owners’ homes, which means the minerals in them never make it back into manufacturing and circulation
- Only 17 of the 40 elements in cell phones are recovered completely; the rest need to be extracted
- Making new cell phones is carbon-intensive
- When old phones end up in landfill, they leach hazardous chemicals
Lead author James Suckling from the University of Surrey recommends that incentives be modified such that data are stored in the cloud, which would allow mobile devices to be simpler and require fewer resources to produce.