It’s that time: time for your company to upgrade mobile devices, or maybe you’re just clearing out storage. Regardless, there are smartphones and tablets you need to get rid of, and ensuring a responsible end-of-life process is crucial.
A circular economy turns the mobile device life-cycle into a loop, looking at how these devices and their materials can be repurposed, reused, and recycled in a way more sustainable for the planet. As a company, you should do what you can where you can to ensure this world is left a better place for future generations to come.
Source Reduction, also known as waste prevention or pollution prevention, is the elimination of waste before it is created. It involves the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials and products to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away. This concept is viewed by the National Recycling Coalition and Environment Defense Fund as viable means to reduce waste as mobile devices reach their end-of-life.
United States companies engaged in trade and movement of device waste are also governed by Responsible Recycling (R2) or E-Stewards Standards and are regularly audited. Device components like LCD screens, lithium-ion batteries, printed circuit boards are just some of many parts that can be responsibly recycled or reused in a process involving source reduction. Outside of component reuse, whole device repurposing can be an even more efficient and productive method of source reduction.
“Environmental Impact” and The Value Recovery Platform
Inside the Mobile reCell Value Recovery Platform, the “Environmental-Impact” feature allows your company to directly see how your device refresh is responsibly delivering a real-world impact. Greenhouse gas emission reduction, material conservation, electric car travel savings, and home appliance energy savings are just some of the many areas you can monitor as your program is in progress. Our R2 and ISO certified processing partner also processes devices at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) levels of security to ensure your company data-security along the way.
“Mobile reCell bases our calculations off of the EPA’s metrics for repurposing a device. As a zero waste company, our goal is to find a home for every device that can safely be repurposed. For devices where a NIST-level wipe cannot be achieved, we follow a strict process for responsibly recycling the devices, starting with the disassembly of the device and routing the elements to the proper channels for recycling. These recycling initiatives feed into the platform and the subsequent EPA metrics are calculated.”
Chris Berry, VP of Customer Experience
Stop One of The Worlds Quickest and Largest Forms of Waste
Believe it or not, mobile devices are quickly becoming one of the largest irresponsibly handled types of waste around the world. Globally, society only deals with 20% of e-waste appropriately while leaving little data on what happens to the rest, which for the most part ends up in landfill, or is disposed of by informal workers in poor conditions.¹ A circular economy ensures these devices are processed responsibly, making a large impact by reducing pollution and waste all around the world.
Phones and tablets contain heavy metals like Lead, Mercury contains and Arsenic 5, and other materials like Lithium-ion batteries and plastics. This is extremely wasteful due to the Copper, Gold, Silver, Aluminum, etc. contained in these devices that go unrecovered.² For comparison, responsibly processing 500 phones is equivalent to getting one car off the road (in terms of emission volume).
Do Your Part For Future Generations
As your company begins thinking of methods to handle old mobile devices, make certain the process chosen is responsible and involves some form of a circular economy. Your company data-security should be ensured while still benefiting our world in ways you never thought of. In a time where we are responsible for how we leave the planet, doing what you can where you can is the only way to leave this world a better place for future generations to come.
 World Economic Forum. A New Circular Vision for Electronics, Time for a Global Reboot https://www.weforum.org/reports/a-new-circular-vision-for-electronics-time-for-a-global-reboot
 MyTechMag. The Circular Economy of a Mobile Phone. https://manufacturing.mytechmag.com/the-circular-economy-of-a-mobile-phone-1283.html