Is your phone vibrating at the expense of the future?

We all want to be greener and are contributing more than ever: we trudge through snow to the cardboard bin, sip from straws that start to degrade halfway through our drink, and buy cars that purr instead of roar, and maybe sip a little fossil fuel instead of guzzling it. Amidst all this, however, our negative contribution is growing in a place so familiar and close to us that although we look at it every day, we still overlook the problem: the fastest-growing waste type in the world is e-waste.

What is e-waste?

Unfortunately, e-waste is not what's in your computer's recycle bin; it actually includes your computer, mobile phone, and other devices that end up in the trash—electronic waste. Have you ever looked at your phone and thought about what it's made of or how it's made? Probably not, and that's understandable. There's more excitement inside than it appears on the outside. For example, your phone vibrates thanks to rare earth metals, which are difficult and expensive to mine. Of course, the phone could function without vibration, but then we'd have to rely only on our ears, which might not be up to the task in the hustle and bustle of the street.

Among other things, this little electronic gadget may contain up to 60 elements, 30 of which are on the so-called endangered list. These elements not only enable the vibration function but also the touch sensitivity of screens, give your screen its colors and brightness, and much more that makes us love smartphones. Also hidden in the battery that gives your phone the necessary spark and in the connections that carry the right waves and signals, are riches. Your phone contains gold, silver, nickel, magnesium, lithium, and palladium, which is even more valuable than gold. Yet, all these remain either in your drawer or worse—end up in the landfill alongside milk and minced meat packages.

Naturally, the extraction of all these elements from the earth has a detrimental impact on nature and human health. Additionally, there's no getting around the fact that there are no substitutes for these rare metals. Once they're in the landfill, that's it. No more will be coming. Continuing the trend where the average smartphone is replaced every 11 months worldwide, the result is not in vibrant colors but in grim tones.


What can you do?
You don't need to dig up your old push-button phone from the bottom of a drawer, although it probably still works. However, you should think about your consumption habits. First, consider whether you always need to go for the newest product when the old one still works and meets your needs. Secondly, when buying new, make sure to recycle your old device so that valuable and rare metals don't end up in the trash but instead earn you some money back and continue to meet our needs by enabling resource recycling. Thirdly, consider purchasing a refurbished, recycled product, which is cheaper than a new one and much more environmentally friendly, yet technically every bit as good as new.


You can conveniently sell your old phone or buy a refurbished one at Ringy's. Be aware!