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The Environmental Impact Of Unused Mobile Phones

Why do we need to focus on reducing this type of e-waste?

It's estimated that there are 40 million unused mobile phones in households in the UK. According to statistics, more than 90% of the British public owned at least one mobile phone in 2006. Those who are in their mid-teens to mid-fifties are likely to have more than one mobile phone with the highest level of ownership attributed to those who are in their mid-teens to mid-thirties.


These days it's incredibly easy to upgrade your mobile phone every 12 to 18 months while forgetting about the old phone that's locked away in a cupboard somewhere in your house. Incredibly just under 20 million people upgrade or replace their phone every year, which begs the question: Where are their old mobiles phones?

Landfill Sites

If every unused mobile phone ends up on a landfill site it's thought they could generate a huge amount of waste. It's estimated that up to 7,500 tons of toxic waste could leak out of the phones and into the soil. The consequences of this could be alarming as it's likely the waste would reach groundwater and damage the environment and our health.


If we think about the impact unused mobile phones are having on a global scale, the results could be somewhat alarming.

The Impact Of Recycling A Mobile Phone

The impact of recycling a mobile phone is much greater than originally thought, but recycling your unused mobile phone can help to slowly make things better. How Recycling Your Unused Phone Can Help:

  • Every phone contains precious metals – Gold, silver and platinum. Using these metals instead of mining for them will help to save precious resources.
  • If the precious metals are re-used, the purchase price is likely to fall, which means we could all save a bit of cash for our daily expenses.
  • If your old mobile phone was recycled this could save the energy and resource needed to manufacture a new one.