From the hefty block sized mobile phones that were pioneered in the 80's to the slick smart phones of today our lives have been revolutionised by the portable telephone. With new features and faster connections coming out seasonally it's hard to resist the urge to upgrade leaving us with a pile of oldies building up in our drawers or being chucked in the bin. But did you know you can (and should) recycle them!
Mobile phones are full of useful and reusable materials such as nickel, lithium and even gold! There's also some potentially damaging chemical compounds such as dioxins and furans that if sent off for landfill can be harmful for the environment. In particular the metallic ore coltan, which is illegally mined in countries such as Africa places a huge threat to the Great Ape populations, such as gorillas and chimpanzees through clearing of essential habitat.
Mobile phones aren't the only electronics we should be recycling; old laptops, TVs, gaming devices and microwaves all contribute to E-Waste despite contain huge amounts of valuable and recoverable materials. Recycling these resources helps to conserve our diminishing natural resources, decrease the demand for further mining and the energy it takes to produce new electronic equipment. Old batteries are in fact hazardous waste because they contain a lot of toxic metals such as mercury and lead and need to be recycled not thrown in the garbage.
There are some charities that accept unwanted laptops and mobiles, either still working or for parts and provide these utilities for disadvantaged schools and communities. Check out the options in your local area for recycling or donating electronics to reduce your environmental footprint and help others in need.