CellPhone Recycling to Reduce E-Waste? an investigation to the argument’s IBE

16 Aug

MONTERA, Krisel M.                                                                                    Social Science 180



CellPhone Recycling to Reduce E-Waste?

an investigation to the argument’s IBE



The average life of cell phones today is only 18 months or less (Sawyer and Hering, 2005). Because of the unstoppable and rapid innovation in cell phone technology, the tendency of people (with or without money) is to crave for better and newer gadgets and satisfy such craving at any cost. Because of this, cell phones getting discarded or thrown is as well ballooning. Much of the electronic material that is old and outdated tends to go to trash. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refers to the electronic product that are discarded and/or disposed by consumers as e-waste (electronic waste) or e-trash (Torres, 2011). E-wastes like cell phones contain an amount of lead, mercury, cadmium and other chemical materials that contrast to its fascinating features are toxic to human body and environment. More serious thing about e-wastes is that they are not getting any less. In US, 2.5 million cell phones are dumped every week (Sawyer and Hering, 2005).

In order to try to remedy such toxic problem, large cell phone and other electronic products company introduce this old yet unnoticed way– recycling. Recycling companies like ReCellular in Hong Kong now target people’s awareness about the benefits of a recycling (Ralf Jurien, 2007). Through donating, you can already reach out to marginalized sector of society because donated cell phones that still function are given to homeless senior citizen and oppressed women so that they at least have an immediate access to emergency calls. Broken cell phones on the other hand are further broken down to properly remove, dispose or reuse its chemical materials (Sawyer and Hering, 2005). Moreover, donating unwanted cell phones minimizes manufacturers’ need for more raw materials and thus lessens environmental abuse and degradation. More so, proper dumping of cell phone and spare parts in your backyard can contribute to environmental violence because cell phones contain material that are non-degradable and in time can cause cancer. But still the best feature, donating old cell phone can give monetary advantages. Recycling companies are ready and are willing to give fair and reasonable remuneration for your unwanted cell phone (EnzimeMark.com,n.d).

Given the above benefits, it quite seems that recycling is a win-win game. You get paid for helping the environment. But this is not quite so for some other cases. One documentary of the program 60 minutes in U.S. exposed the unattractive side of recycling and more aggravating problem of e-waste particularly in China. Donors go to one recycling company in US to give their e-waste on the assumption that their e-waste will be properly disposed and broken down to see if some material can be reused. But the program found out that the truck carrying donated computer monitors went overseas to dump such e-waste, where? To Hong Kong! In contrast to the company’s thrust that the e-waste of the donors will be disposed or recycled properly inside the US only. The operation is underground. The wasteland excretes too much toxics that one breath of air there can already cause cancer, mutation, and other fast killing diseases. Despite that fact, there are still households in there (consisting mostly of children) and it is being used as fortress of some local gang. They “illegally” recycle the e-waste and sell the reusable parts to street passers-by. This is very dangerous most of all because ordinary people without proper tools for safety recycling got to recycle not just plastics or can, but toxic and poisonous e-waste (60Minutes, 2011). Shenzhen, China is a large market for recyclable – be it legal or illegal, small or large scale. This is where gangs go to sell the reusable electronic parts that they got from the e-waste land. If we take recycling as an effect, it is easy and plausible to say that given the above evidences, health, economic and political matters can be the cause.

E-waste management is indeed an issue—knowing when and what electronic product must be disposed of is crucial. But more critical is to know where or to whom are your recyclable or non-recyclable e-waste should be trusted upon. It’s just easy to clean up our closet and dump our garbage properly pretending that most of all this is because we are concerned and we care for our environment. Perhaps what you care for most are the personal selfish benefits from acting accordingly and properly. To this, I say that it is still pseudo-concern. Our least responsibility to our goal that may be called sustainable development does not end to proper waste (toxic and ordinary) disposal. May we take our responsibility further—up to knowing who takes care and what they do to your waste.

To scholars it’s not enough that they know, they publish. And to us ordinary citizen, it can’t be enough that we know, we should act.
























CBSNews. 2011. 60Minutes: Following The trail of Toxic E-waste. Retrieved from http://www.cdsnew.com/stories/2008/11/06/60minutes/mainstories/2008/11/06/60minutes/main4579229.shtml. Accessed 18 June 2011



EnzimeMark.com: free content article directory. n.d. Show Some Courtesy to Your Home Planet, the Earth. Retrieved from http://technology.ezinemark.com/recycle-mobiles-shoow-some-courtesy-towards-your-home-planet-the-earth-7d2da4d1912e.html. Accessed 18 June 2011


EnzimeMark.com: free content article directory. n.d.Cell Phone Recycling is the Best Alternative to Reduce E-Trash. Retrieved from http://technology.ezinemark.com/cell-phone-is-the-best-way-to-reduce-e-trash-1711c4608a3.html. Accessed 18 June 2011



Jurrien. 2007. ReCellular Cell Phone Recycling. Retrieved from http://www.letsgomobile.org/en/1103/cell-phone-recycling/. Accessed 18 June 2011



ReCellular News. 2011. n.a. retrieved from:

http://www.recellular.com/about/news41.asp. Accessed 18 June 2011


Sawyer and Hering. 2005. CellPhone Recycling: Donate Your Old Mobile Phone. Retrieved from http://volunteerguide.org/volunteer/fifteen/cell-phone-recycling.htm. Accessed 18 June 2011


Torres. 2011. Introduction to Electronic Waste: What is E-Waste? Retrieved from http://tv.about.com/od/hdtv/qt/e-waste.htm. Accessed 18 June 2011




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