By Greentec on March 08, 2022
Blog,

How to Recycle Cell Phones: The E-Waste Recycling Process

The E-Waste Recycling Process for Cell Phones (in a nutshell)

E-waste created by improperly disposed cellphones is a major global problem. With around 1.5 billion smartphones sold annually and the number of smartphone users growing each and every year on a global scale, the amount of e-waste generated by old smartphones is expected to rise.

Containing lithium batteries and cadmium, cellphones can be extremely harmful to the human body and the environment if they are not recycled through proper methods. Over time, if these materials are left to leach into groundwater and soil, it can lead to devastating long-term impacts on:

  • wildlife,
  • soil,
  • water quality,
  • and human health.

Seeking out the services of a local expert in proper e waste recycling is key to mitigating the impact of mobile devices. But what is the proper e-waste recycling process for mobile phones?

How Cellphones are Properly Recycled

Once a mobile phone has reached end-of-life, an e waste recycler, such as Greentec, will pick up the devices with the use of secure containers, ensuring all data contained on devices remains private. Once devices are picked up, in-depth documentation begins and will be key to keeping track of devices and any private data throughout the entire transportation and ITAD recycling process.

Upon arrival at the processing facility, devices are unloaded. Then, the recycler employs their inventory management system where all items are

  • identified,
  • classified,
  • tagged,
  • scanned,
  • and recorded.

This ensures full chain of custody, security, and sustainability. 

If mobile phones appear to be in good condition and can be reused, they may be redirected to refurbishment, where devices will be securely wiped of all data and audited with make, model, and serial numbers for secure asset tracking. 

However, for devices that are destined to be broken down and recycled, industrial-grade shredders are used to break down the device and all media contained within the cell phone to protect personal data and information. From this step, all materials are physically separated into base commodities for recycling, such as

  • plastics,
  • glass,
  • steel,
  • aluminum,
  • copper,
  • and precious metals. 

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Harmful materials such as lithium-ion batteries are secured and diverted into recyclable streams to ensure they do not impact the environment, while valuable base materials are filtered back into the circular economy for the production of new products, such as new mobile phones. 

This e-waste recycling process is critical in protecting our environment by reducing carbon, while also eliminating the risk of data security breaches.  

Who Can Properly Recycle Mobile Phones

Not every organization has the expertise and certifications to provide a secure and sustainable e-waste recycling process for mobile phones. 

Working with an e-waste recycler who has vetted, expert in-house technicians to manage the data destruction and e-waste recycling process can make a massive difference in how secure and sustainable the entire process will be.

Certain certifications for both staff and facilities, including ISO 14001, 45001, 9001, NAID AAA, and SERI R2v3 are all key to ensuring devices are properly recycled and data security is maintained. 

Why Proper E-Waste Recycling is Important

Both organizations and consumers cannot simply throw away mobile phones into regular waste streams. Cell phones contain private or sensitive information, which can be stolen and lead to devastating data breaches. 

Within each mobile device, harmful chemicals and materials can contaminate soil and waterways, leading to long-term environmental impacts that will eventually harm animal and human well-being. 

As the popularity and global reliance on mobile phones continues to grow, the environmental and security risks associated with cell phones will worsen. Through widespread and proper e-waste recycling of mobile phones, we can continue to mitigate environmental hazards, while also sending more materials back into the circular economy to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the production of new cell phones.

You Need Expertise for Your E-Waste Recycling

Proper and compliant ITAD and e-waste recycling are critical for any organization. It is best to begin with an industry expert who can guide you through the various regulations and internal requirements for secure disposition and e-waste. 

With Greentec’s help, you can remain confident in the fact that your organization is not only a leader in security and sustainability, but is also able to capitalize on hidden value and strategically plan a full digital transformation. 

For more information on how Greentec can kickstart your ITAD process, schedule a free ITAD Roadmap call with our experienced team.  

Be sure to connect with Greentec on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with the latest industry news. 

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Published by Greentec March 8, 2022