5 reasons why you shouldn’t keep your old mobile phone in the back of your drawer

According to a recent nationwide survey, Hungarians store a lot of unused electronics at home. For example, 63% of the population keep an old mobile phone in their drawer. Many people keep them as a back-up, but many don’t know what to do with them, or just don’t feel like dealing with the issue. So Yettel, with the help of e-waste expert István Balika, member of the board of the Hungarian Waste Management Federation, shows why recycling is a good choice.

1.  Flood of electronic waste
There are currently no accurate figures available on how much unprocessed e-waste there is on the planet, but some estimates[1] claim it will get close to 350 million tonnes by the end of this year. By comparison, this is more than 55,000 times the weight of the Erzsébet Bridge in Budapest (6,300 tonnes). And as consumption increases every year, so does the amount of waste. Last year, nearly 58 million tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide, which is projected to increase by two million tonnes per year. To cope with this volume, it is essential to increase recycling rates and raise awareness.

2.  Less than one fifth of global e-waste is returned to the circular economy
The most common types of e-waste in 2019 were small household appliances, including microwaves, vacuum cleaners and kettles. Small computing and telecommunications devices – including GPSs, routers, pocket calculators and mobile phones – accounted for nearly 10% of the global total. There is much to be done to recycle this waste back into the circular economy, as only 17.4% of the e-waste collected is recycled. Europe is a world leader in recycling. Our continent recycles over 3.5 times more e-waste than Asia, second in the ranking, and nearly 2.5 times more than the global average.

3.  Mining vs. recycling
With the availability of natural resources being limited, it’s in our best interest to recycle as much as possible. Mobile phones contain many valuable materials, including gold, silver, copper, aluminium and palladium, which cannot be substituted, while they can be recovered from end-of-life devices with appropriate procedures. It’s much more economical to recycle a material than to mine it. It’s important to know that for 5 grams of gold, you need to move 1 tonne of ore or stone, while a ton of scrapped mobile phones contains roughly 120 grams of gold. It’s impossible to extract these materials from a device at home, and it’s not even advised to attempt it. There are only three smelters in Europe that have the technology to extract them.

4.  Long-term storage can be dangerous
According to a Yettel survey[2], many people keep several handsets in their home drawers that are more than 10-15 years old. It’s also important to take care of old mobile phones because they contain materials that are not a problem when used as intended, but can be harmful to the environment and your health if not stored properly or put in household waste. In an extreme case, the casing of a lithium-ion battery can corrode, react with oxygen and moisture in the air resulting in swelling, cracking and fire.

5.  Returning e-waste pays off
So by collecting the unwanted electronic devices stored in your home and returning them to a scrap yard or an electronics shop, you can do a lot to protect the environment. If you have a mobile phone you no longer want to use, you can return it free of charge to any Yettel shop, among others, and the operator will ensure that it gets recycled professionally by its specialised partners. You’ll particularly benefit, if you want to replace your recently used 2G or 3G mobile phone: under NMHH’s handset replacement scheme, you can now get a new handset from Yettel HUF 40,000 cheaper.

More information: yettel.hu/ujrahasznositas and yettel.hu/3g-executive

[1] https://theroundup.org/global-e-waste-statistics/

[2] A nationwide survey conducted on behalf of Yettel on a sample of 840 respondents using an online Ipsos panel between 1 and 6 July 2022.  The sample was representative of Hungary’s population by gender, age, type of settlement and region. More information on the survey: https://www.yettel.hu/sajto/kozlemeny/orszagos-kutatas-meglepoen-sok-regi-mobilt-orizgetnek-otthon-a-magyarok