Around 125 million mobile phones are treated as unwanted items every year in the UK, and as new models continue to be released, this number is sure to grow.
First of all, let's go over what our phones are actually made of and what the risks are of not disposing of them appropriately. The glass screens of smartphones generally contain mercury and the plastic body can contain fire retardants which are really harmful to the environment. The circuit boards in old handsets are a source of extremely toxic chemicals, such as arsenic and bromine-based fire retardants. The most hazardous part is normally the battery. Depending on the model and make of a phone, it will either be a Lithium Ion or Nickel-Cadmium battery, both of which are dangerous substances if released into the environment.
It's clear that if you don't want to damage the environment, you definitely shouldn't be chucking your old phones in the bin! What should you be doing instead though?
Solution is Trade-in : not only will you earn some money, but you'll also be helping to preserve our environment
Without any doubt, the answer is of course - recycle! You could sell your old phone to any number of mobile phone recycling companies (Apple Recycle , Microsoft Trade-in , Virgin Recycle , Argos Trade-in , Phone@ etc), and in doing so, not only will you earn some money, but you'll also be helping to preserve our environment and helping people in developing countries.
Old and unwanted phones need to be recycled carefully. The good news is that there are laws in place which ensure recycling companies take all the necessary precautions to prevent the chemicals in mobile phones ending up in the environment. The other good news is that some of the other materials in phones are precious! Some phones, such as iPhones, contain gold and silver in their body, so by recycling your old phones, you'll also be helping to preserve precious resources..
If you sell a working phone which is still in good condition, you can normally receive a good amount of money in return. You won't be able to sell non-working handsets for as much, but you should still receive something in return. Phone recycling companies collect working phones and sell them on to developing countries where people use them as refurbished devices. In this way, you can help people in other countries afford a phone.