The electronics recycling industry has been around for decades and it represents one of the most effective means to reuse valuable materials during the creation of new products. We should therefore not be overly surprised to learn that many of the materials within modern smartphones are actually derived from previous models. Whether referring to the iPhone 7, the Samsung Galaxy S8 or newer LG models, the fact of the matter is that these modern marvels are literally the physical descendants of previous generations. Let’s take a quick look at the recycling process before examining some of the online methods which consumers can access.

The Preliminary Steps

Up to 170 million mobile phones sold to the public in 2017 are the direct products of recycling. So, it should be clear that extracting valuable materials is of the utmost importance. This generally involves human interaction. Works will first separate phones based upon their size as well as the composition of their outer shells. For example, plastic models will be placed into one pile while phones constructed from cast aluminium are sent to another station. Due to the potential for fires and even explosions, the batteries within these phones are removed before processing begins. Batteries are recycled separately and once again, their core components are utilised during the production of new units.

The Separation of Metals

Once the outer casings have been removed, the real magic associated with recycling begins. Many consumers are unaware that phones such as the Apple iPhone 7 contain a number of valuable precious metals. Some interesting examples include:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Rhodium
  • Platinum

Some of these substances can be found within the circuit boards themselves while others are located in other portions such as touchscreens and connections. Several processes are involved during the extraction of metals. However, the overall method is generally the same regardless of the specific company.

Once the outer shells and batteries are removed, the phone is mechanically broken down into other components such as the PC board, the batter connector, the LCD screen and the speakers. These parts are then ground down before they enter into a large smelting machine. This furnace literally melts the components until they all resemble a metallic “soup”. Through various mechanical and chemical methods, different metals will be extracted at different times during the recycling process . They are then cooled and solidified. Such metals are then sent off to other facilities which will utilise them in a variety of ways.

The Growing Community of Online Mobile Phone Recycling

One of the most recent advancements involves the contributions associated with the world of online recycling. No longer will consumers be forced to physically travel to recycling centres in order to turn in their out-of-date smartphones. Large portals such as offer users the cash value for their older models. This is particularly economical, for newer versions can normally fetch well into the hundreds of pounds. As the demand for second-hand phones and recycled parts continues to grow, we should fully expect that the world of online recycling will become an even more important portion of the industry as a whole.

The technology behind recycling is indeed impressive and yet, we do not have to fully understand the individuals processes in order to enjoy their numerous benefits. Smartphone recycling helps to protect the environment and it also reduces the costs associated with manufacturing new models. It is very much a win-win situation for everyone involved.



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