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 the goddamn world
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