Recycling rates of smartphone metals

Hi everyone,

I ran into this blog post at Compound Interest:

It contains a very nice image of the different metals in smartphones and how much of them get recycled.

I thought I’d share it with you. (:


It’s worrying that, even after all these years of legislation, awareness campaigns, collecting schemes,… the most critical materials are still (almost) not recycled.
Of course, this is mostly due to design problems. For recycling facilities, it is impossible to recycle all (or “a lot of”) materials. Many electronics are made in such a way that, if you want to recycle one metal, you have to melt down a lot of other metals and plastics in the process. they are not easily separable (small remark, we’re trying to work on this via legislation :wink: )

And of course, this are the figures of the phones that are actually collected and (legally) recycled. Since most phones still end up in a drawer, or in the waste bin, a lot of materials don’t even get the chance to be recycled. I’m very happy this is an issue on which FairPhone is really trying to raise awareness along its costumers!


First of all, thanks for sharing. I did not know this website and found some more interesting articles besides the one you pointed out.

I agree with @danielsjohan that it is shocking how much valuable materials are still wasted and how many people do not even think about giving their phones either a 2nd life by selling or giving them away to others or to proper recycling facilities. Hopefully, some of the media attention the FP2 gets right now will bring some others outside the community to think about it as well.

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