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A golden time to recycle phones

One of the side effects of the credit crunch has been the rapid rise in the value of gold and other precious metals. Odd then isnt it that the UK throws away 600kg (21,000oz) of gold and silver each year.  “Madness!!!!” I hear you say, “let me get at it!”.  Well, you can, by recycling your mobile phone. Britain’s 45 million mobile phone users discard about 15 million phones each year and only about 2% are recycled – the rest either go to landfill or gather dust in drawers and cupboards.  And the gold in the discarded UK handsets alone is about 300 Kg, or over £6 million in value.  Gold is used on circuit boards in mobiles (in tiny connections between components) and silveris used in soldering.  Handsets also contain tiny amounts  of other precious metals including platinum, palladium and hafnium. Lithium and nickel can also be retrieved form discarded phone batteries and even the plastics in handsets can be recycled.  There are already a number of companies recycling handsets – german company Umicore recovered about six tonnes of gold last year from wazste – another (Norddeutsche Afffinerie) extracted 3.5 tonnes worth £78 million.  With new European laws being introduced to promote recycling handset manufacturers are already on the ball –  Nokia advises customers how to recycle phones at dedicated centres and via the internet.

Recycle that unused mobile

Posted on January 18th 2009

One positive thing we can all do is RECYCLE old mobiles: A new survey from www.fonebank.com , a trade in website, found only 20% of UK consumers recycle mobiles with 28% putting them into a drawer and 23% throwing them away (most people probaly do both over time!).  Websites such as www.tinyurl.com/8gswhr and www.tinyurl.com/6uebob offer useful advice. Throwing phones away is like throwing money away and has some pretty poor environmental side effects too – phones and phone batteries in landfill can leach poisons into our water supply. Recycling helps someone else and helps our planet just that little bit.

And with the economics of recycling currently a victim of the economic meltdown, why not take a little time to stimulate demand for recycled products? The Times eco-warrior, Anna Shepherd, reports that whilst recycling firm Greencycle admits it is now storing card and paper as foriegn and domestic markets shrink, now is the time to increae demand for products made from recycled materials.  Here’s a couple of good websites to start the ball rolling – Remarkable Stationary at www.remarkable.co.uk and Nouvelle toilet paper at www.nouvellerecycling.co.uk. For more recycled products see www.recycledproducts.co.uk .