This is crazyness!
Americans threw out just shy of three million tons of household electronics in 2006.
Some of these phones are mined for precious metals, many go to landfil, tons go to companies who resell them used in the developing world who do not have the waste infrastructure to dispose of them properly when the phone’s life is finally over.
cellphones are the most valuable form of e-waste. Each one contains about a dollar’s worth of precious metals, mostly gold. And while single phones house far less hazardous material than a computer — an old, clunky monitor can incorporate seven pounds of lead — their cumulative presence is staggering.
Last year, according to ABI Research, 1.2 billion phones were sold worldwide. Sixty percent of them probably replaced existing ones. In the United States, phones are cast aside after, on average, 12 months. And according to the industry trade group CTIA, four out of every five people in the country own cellphones.
Using data from the United States Geological Survey and mining companies’ own reports, Earthworks estimates that mining the gold needed for the circuit board of a single mobile phone generates 220 pounds of waste. The environmental nonprofit calls this “an extremely conservative” estimate.
meanwhile drawers turn
out to be the real purgatory for phones. Using predictions from Inform, the United States Geological Survey estimates that in 2005 there were already more than half a billion old phones sitting in American drawers. That added up to more than $300 million worth of gold, palladium, silver, copper and platinum
recyclers say that from their vantage point it’s obvious that most phones are retired because of psychological, not technological, obsolescence. Right now, there are roughly 470 models of phone for sale in the United States. About 16 new ones come out every month. Many are only slightly altered versions of existing phones, suggesting how easily we get bored — how we’ll crave something that slides, say, instead of flips open.
Way cool ideas and book.
“Somewhere during the last 100 years, we learned to find refuge outside the species, in the silent embrace of manufactured objects,” Jonathan Chapman, a young product designer and theorist at the University of Brighton, writes in his book “Emotionally Durable Design.” But designers and consumers have snared themselves in an unsustainable trap, Chapman told me, since our affection for many high-tech objects is tied exclusively to their newness.
Duh! We are stupid! The above quotes are but a few snipets from an excellent 6 page article in the NYTimes on The Afterlife of Cellphones by By JON MOOALLEM, Jan. 13.