Unused mobile phones hold huge potential

The metal of discarded mobile phones in Germany is sufficient to cover the material demand for smartphones for the next ten years - purely mathematically.

an image of broken smartphones about to be recycled

This is the result of a study by the Institute of the German Economy in Cologne. According to the study, the total metal value of unused mobile phones in Germany is around 240 million euros.

In a theoretical calculation, the drawer mobile phones could cover the material requirements for new smartphones for more than 10 years, the report says.

Not all mobile phones are recyclable

However, the authors point out that the reality is different, "since not all drawer phones are recycled and are also completely recyclable".

The drawer phones belong to the so-called urban mine. This is the term used for raw material deposits found in products that are already in use. Britta Bookhagen of the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources qualifies: "It is very difficult to estimate which raw materials will come back to us, how and when."

For one thing, she says, it is neither clear how much steel or aluminium was used in a car or washing machine 50 years ago, nor how it can be recovered and processed in the most sensible way. What is needed here is better data.

Written by: sda

Photos: Pixabay/Wilfried Pohnke

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