Butterflies

Recycle Your Mobile Phone

You’ll never beat my score on Snake II.

Concerned as I am with my image, and conscious as I am of my status as trendsetter extraordinaire, I replace my mobile phone every four minutes. It’s vital I stay ahead of my friends, ever watchful of their latest purchases, to retain the title of World’s Shallowest Bastard. I was bluetoothed out of my face when my friends were still using coconuts and string. I was playing obnoxious MP3 ringtones when they were playing obnoxious polyphonic ringtones. I didn’t have time call my friends on my iPhone before I replaced it with a jPhone. I’m joking, of course; I don’t have any friends.

As much as we fret about the climate crisis, sustainable materials and disposability, our love of annual handset upgrades remains fucking bananas. Since the mid-90s we’ve bought about 20 billion mobile phones, more than a billion of them in 2020 alone. That’s twice as many as half that much, and wasteful to the point of What The Bloody Hell. That’s an absolute ton of the 30-odd elements we use for them, including copper, gold, silver, lithium and cobalt. Having done precisely no research I’m confident only six of those phones were actually required, and the rest were replacing perfectly decent phones because they were less shiny than their replacements.

Now, I’m not here to make judgments on our wasteful, throw-away society or on your teenage-level shallowness for wanting the newest model as soon as it hits the high street. I’m not here to pour scorn on the greed that’s shared by so many we don’t even recognise it as greed any more. I’ve got nothing to say about how crude, how backwards, how self-defeating, how future-harming, how insulting to the have-nots your disposable lifestyle is. It’s none of my business. Live and let live, I say.

But having agreed the best thing we can do with mobile phones is buy less of the things, there’s still the matter of what to do with them when we need an occasional, legit upgrade. Years ago you could pop your old handset in an envelope, it’d go to some charity or other and we’d feel good about our enviroselves. But that was back when handsets cost about 40 quid. In the days of £1,000 smartphones it’s a little harder to just give them away. If you’re rich enough, you can send your unwanted phones to Three, Tesco and O2 who’ve partnered with a bunch of charities, or give directly to whichever charities are knocking about Google asking for them. If that’s more than you can manage, you can sell them rather than send them to landfill. Whole industries have popped up to relieve you of your old phone in exchange for cold, hard cash. They’ll sell it second hand to someone less well off or more enviroconscious than you. And if we’re last in the chain and our phones have bricked completely we can still recycle them, handing them to manufacturers, networks or resellers to dismantle and reclaim whatever rare earth elements they can salvage.

It’s yer basic reduce, reuse, recycle kind of thing. Wish I’d just said that, really. Right up the top. Wasted everyone’s time again.

Recycle your mobile

 

Save resources

 

Save the goddamn world

 

Related Blog Posts

The Big Plastic Count: World’s Worst Typo Successfully Avoided

The Big Plastic Count: World’s Worst Typo Successfully Avoided

Among the million things we need to do to avert climate breakdown, kicking the arse out of plastic is one of the most urgent. Plastic comes from dirty-bad oil, gas and coal, using about 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 6% of coal-fired electricity in its production. We’re bringing on the sixth mass extinction for the sake of shrink-wrapped broccoli.

Doing nothing for the environment

Doing nothing for the environment

In my withered, Covid-infested state I find myself doing less and less for the big battles we need to win: Yer climate breakdown, yer rise of fascism, yer eating the rich. But recently I’ve discovered a critical area of climate activism that requires even less effort than doing very little: Doing nothing at all! By which I mean I’m buying less shit.

9 life hacks for ignoring the IPCC climate report

9 life hacks for ignoring the IPCC climate report

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the IPCC – issued its latest report this week, pointing out how monumentally fucked we are because we like cars, burgers and mass extinctions. It makes for grim reading – but only if you actually read it. Here are nine ways you can avoid giving it any thought at all!

An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars 2: Electric car boogaloo

An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars 2: Electric car boogaloo

Desperate to avoid petrol I hired an electric car for the purposes of hard science. I requisitioned a Renault Zoe for a few days, rented a lab coat and three pens for its pocket, bought a clipboard outright and began the grand experiment. The key tests were how well the battery lasted with my commute and the business of social work, how quickly it drained when parked overnight, how big a pain in the arse public charge points are, and how often I’d have to use the buggers.

An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars, maybe

An almost buyer’s guide to electric cars, maybe

Back in the arse-end of 2019 I finally ditched my car, having decided humanity was marginally more important than an easy commute. But then Covid hit. And hit me right in the face. Almost two years later I’m still having trouble walking, still working fully from home and only just starting full time hours. I need a car. Which means I need an electric car, which means a lot of expense…

Climate anxiety: The self-righteousest of all anxieties

Climate anxiety: The self-righteousest of all anxieties

And so we find ourselves on the eve of COP26, where highfalutin delegates from around 200 countries will come together in Glasgow to either unite the world to tackle climate change or to talk shit, greenwash their failures and prove virtue signalling is a real thing after all. In preparation I’ve been hard at work on my soul-crushing climate anxiety. This requires long nights lying awake fretting, long days doomscrolling social media. It requires your heart pounding against your ribs so hard it actually makes a noise.

A three-legged carbon footprint

A three-legged carbon footprint

My grand return to the world of disability hasn’t been great for carbon footprinting. The early, housebound stage was amazing, obviously. The plus side of not leaving my bed for months is that it reduced my emissions – and my activity, social life and hope – to zero. But as I got more with it, public transport was no longer an option…

11 Reasons Climate Change Will Wipe Us Out, LOL

11 Reasons Climate Change Will Wipe Us Out, LOL

As the climate crisis escalates and we begin laying track for Fury Roads, most of us are living our lives much as before. It’s a society-wide combover, with all of us pretending not to notice the very clear bald patches poking through. But even with our eyes closed and our fingers in our ears, climate breakdown will keep on trucking. Here’s how, Buzzfeed style:

Blog archives

Share This