Where to put old gadgets? Let’s search for a solution

    23 Nov 2021

    13 iPhone made you look for the last refuge for the previous smartphone? Did the headphones break again? The laptop finally failed your 125 tabs and died a quiet death? All these things could end up in the dump. But they will harm the environment.

    Thankfully to Rubryka, we’ve found alternative solutions that everyone needs.

    What is the problem?

    Old electronics are the world’s fastest-growing type of household waste. Moreover, very dangerous. Last year, the amount of e-waste in the world was almost 54 million tons. For a better understanding: these are the three hundred and fifty largest cruise liners – and if you place them in one line, its length will reach one hundred and twenty-five kilometers! According to forecasts, by 2050, this number may increase at least threefold.

    Almost 10% of e-waste is smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets, and it is the fastest-growing category of waste in the world. The average lifespan of a smartphone, for example, is only two to three years, after which most people buy newer models. Not much longer live tablets and laptops that break or no longer meet user needs. So the old equipment turns into electronic garbage, which harms the environment when it hits the landfill.

    So what about the old technology? You probably already understand that just taking it to the dump is not the best option.

    What are the solutions? What to do with gadgets

    Sell. This can and should be done, because you can return a small part of the money spent on the purchase after the sale. The cost of an outdated gadget will be small, as progress is very fast and old technology is of interest only to craftsmen who repair it. If it is a question of sale relatively fresh phone, it is possible to count on half of its cost. Before selling, it is best to put the gadget in order, find the factory packaging and complete the phone as the manufacturer did it.

    Take to the store for an exchange. Such promotions are often held by stores that sell phones. You can often get a decent discount when buying a new device.

    Present. You can give it to relatives and friends for gratitude. Older mobile devices are often inherited by elderly parents who do not need a large memory or fashionable applications in the smartphone. Such a mobile phone can be salvation in a difficult situation because even if it is obsolete, the communication function is still preserved.

    It is possible to donate a phone and other working equipment to close people and to a charitable organization. Many charitable foundations are looking for such gadgets to later give them to people who can not afford such a purchase.

    Dispose of technics. According to statistics, 40% of old mobile phones simply continue to lie at home, 20% of used smartphones are resold for reuse, and only 9-10% are recycled. The other 30% of gadgets end up in landfills. The most dangerous element of any electronic device is the battery, including lead, chromium, cadmium, and mercury. Once in landfills, they poison groundwater, land, and air and adversely affect human health.

    However, used gadgets are not only harmful to the environment, they can also be suppliers of precious metals. Experts from the European Chamber of Auditors have estimated that a ton of smartphones can produce about 100 times more gold than a ton of gold ore. Cases – plastic or metal – are also subject to recycling.

    We need a hero here! What is e-waste or e-waste?

    •       This is mobile phones, smartphones;
    •       computer technics;
    •       printers, telephones, and faxes;
    •       home appliances, TVs;
    •       electronic toys.

    In order not to harm nature and significantly save its resources, people must dispose of gadgets properly. The best way to get rid of electronic junk is to collect such equipment at home, unnecessary accessories and hand them over to a special reception point or hand them over to specialized enterprises. And those engaged in its dismantling, sorting, processing, and transfer for the subsequent utilization. This ensures that such items do not end up in landfills.

    Even more solutions: from medals to new coins

    An inspiring example of recycling was shown this year in Japan. Medals made of precious metals from electronic waste recycling were created to reward athletes at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 48 tons of gadgets were collected, from which 30 kg of gold, 4100 kg of silver, and 2700 kg of bronze were received, which almost completely covered the need for precious metals for medals. True, some athletes have complained that the coverage of gold medals is peeling off, but that, for the sake of the environment will have to handle the awards more carefully. British athlete Tom Daly, for example, took care of his medal in advance and tied a protective cover for it himself.

    In Taiwan, the Environmental Protection Agency has brought together ten manufacturers and five telecom operators to advance a plan to dispose of mobile phones. In total, the country has opened 3,000 outlets, which include the old gadget. Local environmentalists were inspired by the example of Japanese people who handed over electric waste to make Olympic medals.

    In France, you can now send your old smartphone for recycling by mail for free. Gadgets in good condition will be repaired and sold for charity, and in bad – reworked. First of all, each phone is sent to the processing center, where it erases all data. The algorithm is simple: you order a special envelope on the site and take it to the post office. You can track the path of your phone by account. In June, the French sent 62,000 tons of equipment.

    In the English pub Trade-Inn, you can pay for food and drinks with unnecessary equipment. Once the equipment arrives at the bar, it is picked up by a repair and resale company. By calculation, if every Briton says goodbye to electronic junk, he will be able to buy about 8 pints of beer.

    And in the UK, coins will be issued from waste from old gadgets. To do this, the country’s Royal Mint began working with Canadian startup Excir, which has developed an affordable technology to extract gold and silver from chips. It allows receiving metals “with a high degree of purity.” In the next couple of years, a plant will be built in Wales, which will be engaged in extracting valuable raw materials.


    Want to save the Earth? Then don’t buy that shiny new iPhone. Why? Scientists and journalists explain here.

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