Cell Phone Recycling: IBE

16 Aug

De Guzman, Maricor Pauline B.                                                                                        08-57757

Soc Sci 180                                                                                                                 21, June 2011

Cell Phone Recycling: IBE

Hypothesis 1: It is probable that cell phone recycling in Shenzhen China started as a means to combat global environmental problems.

Hypothesis 2: It is also probable that cell phone recycling started because there is profit in it.

These two hypotheses may seem to be contradicting however, it is not. In an attempt to reconcile this, I came up with an argument, that is, for me, the account that would best explain the issue at hand.

Main Hypothesis: Companies in Shenzhen China saw a large profit from cell phone recycling. Since we are currently experiencing environmental crisis, and china has to deal with their carbon emissions they thought that it is good to propose cell phone recycling as their means to address environmental problems. Thus, cell phone recycling started as source of profit and later on became a proposed solution to environmental crisis in China.

Most evidences that I have gathered imply that cell phone recycling is China’s answer to environmental problems. By recycling cell phones they were able to save energy and minimize their carbon emission. I also gathered evidences that deal with the green project of some companies, “Green boxes”, wherein cell phone boxes were distributed in different places so that people can put their old cell phones there. As such, it is much easier for the companies to collect them and recycled them into new cell phones or new products (___, 2006).

While this is so, there are also evidences that point out that many corporations involved in it were able to make profit from it. Some of my evidences deal with the components of cell phones. It says there that cell phones have different metal components. Some of these are gold, silver, copper and lead. Companies in Shenzhen that were involved in such project are extracting such metals to create new products (Dkousemaker, 2010).

The reason why I hypothesized that the main cause of cell phone recycling in Shenzen, China is because of the facts that I have read about some of the companies in China that deals with cell phone recycling. Among the companies I have investigated are the Huawei, Konka, and China mobile. These companies have common vision, that is, to ensure that their customers will have quality cell phones. Thus, priority is not the environment but their customers. Moreover, I also arrived at this hypothesis because of many advertisements of these companies (and many others) of their recycled cell phone products in the internet.  Although this is not that good evidence, I think that such advertisements tell something about the aims of these companies i.e. Profit.


With regards to cell phone recycling as a solution to environmental problems, there are many evidences that can support this. However, I also found some evidences which show that cell phone recycling in Shenzen China produces toxic waste that harms the environment and the people in the vicinity. Thus, cell phone recycling being environment friendly may not be true at all and it is just a cover up to the real aim of the corporations in Shenzen, China.


























“Recellular Operations reach three continents, phone recycling facilities open in China and Brazil”. Retrieved in:  http://www.recellular.com/about/news41.asp. Last accessed: 19 June 2011

Dkousemaker,  “Techtravels: Shenzhen – Phone recycling -1-4”-. March 2010. Retrieved in: http://techtravels.wordpress.com/shenzhen-phone-recycling-1/, 2, 3, 4. Last accessed: 19 June 2011

“Huawei”. Retrieved in: http://www.huawei.com/en/about-huawei/corporate-info/. Last accessed: 21 June 2011.

“Second-hand recycling companies in Shenzhen Zhongxin”. Retrieved in:http://occurcr.en.b2b168.com/home.aspx

“China Mobile: Case Study”. Retrieved in: http://www.erb.umich.edu/News-and-Events/news-events-docs/09-10/ChinaMobileCaseStudy.pdf. Last accessed: 21 June 2011

“Our “Green Action Plan,” Building an Environmental Management System”. Retrieved in: Last accessed: 21 June 2011

 “China Mobile Extends Green Box Program”. Retrieved in:http://www.chinacsr.com/en/2006/04/20/432-china-mobile-extends-green-box-program/. Last accessed: 21 June 2011

“Chinese Companies Form Green Mobile Phone Alliance”. June 2010. Retrieved in:http://www.chinacsr.com/en/2010/06/01/7652-chinese-companies-form-green-mobile-phone-alliance/. Last accessed: 21 June 2011

“China Mobile Commits to Energy Conservation”. Retrieved in:http://www.chinacsr.com/en/2009/11/16/6576-china-mobile-commits-to-energy-conservation/.  Last accessed: 21 June 2011

“China Mobile world”. Retrieved in:http://www.antya.com/detail/China-Mobile-World/105226

How China recycles millions of cellphones every year”. Retrieved in:

http://blogs.nokia.com/nseries/2011/05/03/how-china-recycles-millions-of-cellphones-every-year/. Last accessed: 19 June 2011.

“Low-cost e-waste recycling in China releasing catalogue of pollutants”. Retrieved in:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/582564/lowcost_ewaste_recycling_in_china_releasing_catalogue_of_pollutants.html. Last accessed: 19 June 2011

“UN warns India and China over growing problem of e-waste”. February,2010.  Retrieved in: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/420967/un_warns_india_and_china_over_growing_problem_of_ewaste.html. Last accessed: 19 June 2011




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