Phone Recycling in China

29 Jul

Sharamae Rose C. Sanchez                             Social Science 180                  Ma’am Nars Canilao

Phone Recycling in China

China has been a powerful country all throughout world history. It has been standing strong through waves and waves of struggles and changing generations and trends. Today, China is threat to the economic domination of the United States. “China’s economic clout is a large part of why the U.S.—once the world’s lone superpower—desires to show the utmost fanfare to its number-one trading partner, especially in the midst of the Western nation’s worst financial crisis in decades. With economists speculating that the Yuan could replace the dollar in the next 20 years, the fading nation naturally desires to affirm its relationship with the rising Asian force” (The Real Truth, 2011).

“At the end of December 2007, the State Council announced that central government fiscal revenues for the year would be Rmb401bn (US$53bn) more than it had forecast. In the past few years, China has been a major importer of oil, steel, aluminum, copper and other base materials, propelling prices of these commodities to record levels” (Liu, 2008). China’s growth continuously affects the global demand and trade. Its economy is growing at an average of 7 percent for a decade, and is planning and aiming to grow faster in time (Liu, 2008).

Environmental factors would be an important issue when paired with the growth of China. If the growth continues, according to Liu (2008), “by 2025, more than half of China’s population (by then ~1.3 billion) will be living in urban centers.” Simultaneous with the urbanization of China will be heightened pollution and traffic congestion. These consequences will affect China’s infrastructures, pollution, clean water, and waste management concerns. These would also affect the living conditions of the people in the urban countries. For these matters, China wants to lessen the negative effects of urbanization, and to maintain its growth by balancing environment and development (Liu, 2008).

The constitution of the Republic of China also specifies that, according to Liu (2008), “The state protects and improves the living environment and the ecological environment, and prevents and remedies pollution and other public hazards, and the state ensures the rational use of natural resources and protects rare animals and plants. The appropriation or damage of natural resources by any organization or individual by whatever means is prohibited.” China has launched many laws for the protection of the environment: “Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution, Law on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution, Law on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes, Marine Environment Protection Law, Forestry Law, Grassland Law, Fisheries Law, Mineral Resources Law, Land Administration Law, Water Resources Law, Law on the Protection of Wild Animals, Law on Water and Soil Conservation, and Agriculture Law” (Liu, 2008). It is very probable that China is indeed concerned in the environment.

Since China has been powerful for decades and decades, it could not risk the image and state to be lost. “The global focus is currently on China” (Liu, 2008). China is currently rising to become a superpower, and doing this is not easy. There are needs for maintenance of the current state or even improvement. “Environmental protection has become a key task for modern development” (Liu, 2008). We can probably say that China is launching legal acts to preserve the environment but for the benefit of their development.

One example of the domination of China in the market is mobile phones. “Mainland China is by far the largest mobile phone manufacturing country in the world. In 2001, China accounted for 20% of world mobile phone production; by 2004, that figure had risen to 36%, and by the end of the decade China is expected to host around 75% of world production” (Wilde and Haan, 2006). It is likely that due to this large production of mobile phones by China, they have launched acts for recycling them.

In Shenzhen, there are two buildings in Hua Qiang Bei that are dedicated to cellphones (Techtravels, 2010). But according to this blog on Techtravels (2010), these aren’t the same as regular stores that we would see regarding cellphones. “Here cellphones are traded as a commodity or even as a raw material. Hundreds of small companies work with (and against) each other to squeeze every bit of value out of yesterday’s mobile phones” (Techtravels, 2010). There are bundles of stores here who sell bundles of pre-owned phones from which some are collected from garbage collections from Hong Kong and other major cities in Asia. The chip boards are collected from where the other important components are taken from. These are all checked if they are still working, and are sold to the market (Techtravels, 2010).

According to Hunt (2010), “mobile handsets are one of the few electronic products that have a thriving reuse market. In fact, more handsets are reused than recycled, with 8% selling their old mobiles and 19% passing them on to friends or family”. However, companies show small percentages of taking back the redundant phones from consumers. “In the case of Envirofone, 98% of the phones bought are reconditioned before being sold on in Africa and China, the rest are recycled so precious metals can be extracted and reused”, just like what they do in Shenzhen (Hunt, 2010). It is very probable to say that the recycling of phones in Shenzhen are helpful to the environment because of the recycling of these metals that are hazardous if not handled properly that are definitely put to good use.

However, for the case of the recycled phones in China, China phones are known by its low cost but also for its low quality. There is a possibility that these phones are from the recycled phone components that are now booming in China. The consumers of these phones are supposed to be spending less but are going to be more likely spending more for buying new phones because of its defective parts rather than being able to use the phone for a long period of time.

These recycled phones in Shenzhen really are helpful to the environment because it is starting the industry of reusing the components of pre-owned cellphones that are still working. This reduces the wastes that are hard to dispose of and reduces the risk of contaminating our natural resources. The low quality of these phones is a loophole to the efficiency of reusing these phones, but it is also likely that in due time, there would be better technologies that would make these reused components better as new. Given these indications and accounts regarding phone recycling in China, we can state that indeed, China exercises environment friendly use of materials like phone recycling however, it is for the progress and advancement of its own economic and political power and not for the benefit of the environment per se.



Hunt, Tim. (2010). Liberation Technology and Corporate Misanthropy. Retrieved June 19, 2011 from

Liu, Echo. (2008). Environmental Legislation in China (Mainland). Finpro Shanghai. Retrieved June 19, 2011 from

Wilde J. & Haan, E. (2006). The High Cost of Calling. SOMO. Retrieved June 19, 2011 from

Techtravels. (2010). Shenzhen – Phone Recycling. Retrieved June 19, 2011 from

The Real Truth. (2011). China: The New Lone Superpower? Retrieved June 19, 2011 from



Bits and Pieces to Development

29 Jul

Sanchez, Michelle Jane V.

Social Science 180


Bits and Pieces to Development

 Technology plays a major role in every human life today. It functions to make everyday living easy, accessible and comfortable. Communication, transportation, education, medicine, livelihood and industry are fields by which technology encompasses. It’s practically everything that surrounds us. It also portrays the dependence of people towards technology; it’s as if people will not survive without these innovations. However, its rapid advancements have led to its also rapid replacement, and by rapid replacement I meant almost every month. Older models are replaced by trendier and newer models available in the market offering better and more convenient features, therefore, giving life to the question on whether where these replaced units go to.  There are two obvious ways on how to dispose unused phones, usually it is handed over to younger siblings or close friends, or it goes straight to the trash for those who don’t care about what the paid for. Nevertheless, people from Shenzhen, China has devised a new way of disposing these unused phones while generating income—phone recycling.

Phone recycling refers to the breaking down of unused phones and selling the parts which are still in good condition. The process starts in the buying of unused or unwanted phones, some even retrieves it from the trash, by two malls in Shenzhen. They are then broken into its micro parts. Each part is then screened to identify which ones are in good shape. Those parts who passed the screening are arranged according to similarity in glass cases and displayed by every stall. (Kousemaker)

What could account for this kind of business in Shenzen? Could it be because they’re having problems with waste management? Or is it because this part of China have been poverty-stricken that they have engaged in such activity? Could this be China’s campaign to lessen pollution in their country? Many hypotheses can be inferred from this activity that Shenzhen had ventured in. But, I say the best explanation for this would be apparently seen if a historical perspective is employed.

China for a time regarded low of merchants in their social structure. Employing economistic logic, Chinese merchants would search for areas in which they are free to practice trade and exchange. This proves the diasporic character of Chinese ceramic products that is not only seen in the Philippines but in many other Asian and European countries as well. This proposition may account to the economic or business mindedness that the Chinese had.

As for Chinese-Filipino trade relations, Onofre Corpuz cites that the earliest accounts of trade that pre-hispanic Filipinos engaged in was that of the Chinese. He cites that Wu Ching Hong is even able to date back as far as 982 A.D. Chao Ju-kua, on the other hand, dates as early as twelfth and early thirteenth centuries of contact between Chinese traders and Filipinos. Other that accounts, Corpuz cites that there are also sources that can prove contact by Chinese in Cebu and Butuan. (Corpuz, 1997)

The Chinese also persisted even after the pre-hispanic period. One instance is the presence of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s Chinese competition in the stocking business while in exile at Dapitan. Their  of the Chinese in Philippine history also explains the long lineage of Filipino-Chinese businessmen. Lucio Tan, the Cojuancos, Henry Sy, Gokongwei, Tony Tancaktiong, are only some of the Chinese businessen that dominates the Filipino business industry. It is also worth noting that despite provision by the 1987 Philippine Constitution on the protection of Filipino enterprises against foreign competition and trade practices (De Leon, 2008), there is a high concentration on the number of Chinese owned business stalls and establishment in the city of Manila (especially around Divisoria area).

The Chinese have been portrayed as business minded people. And I strongly believe in this stand. I could even remember that the Chinese are often portrayed as merchants or as those owning different businesses. However, Go Bon Juan opposes this stand. He believes that the Chinese are opportunity grabbers and were never by nature businessmen. “It was historical conditions which pushed the ethnic Chinese in the Philippines to play the role of businessmen.” (Juan, 1996) That being taken into account, we can therefore say that the current trend in gaining revenue from phone recycling might have accounted for the opportunity seen by the Chinese of the potential profit gained from unused and unwanted mobile phones that are thrown away while still having some functioning parts. But, I still stand by my position that the Chinese are business minded people because being an opportunity grabber does not mean you are driven by an economic orientation or a profit generating orientation. The Chinese may have not be able to see the benefits or income that will be rendered from engaging in such enterprise if they are not familiar with business related matters.









Corpuz, O. D. (1997). An Economic History of the Philippines. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

De Leon, H. S. (2008). Textbook on the Philippine Constitution. Manila: Rex Bookstore, Inc.

Juan, G. B. (1996). Myths About the Ethnic Chinese: “Economic Miracle”. Manila: Kaisa Para sa Kaunlaran, Inc.

Kousemaker, D. (n.d.). Shenzhen — Phone Recycling 1 to 4. Retrieved 17 June, 2011, from Techtravels:




Inference to the Best Explanation

28 Jul

ORATE, Jerome C.                                         SS 180                                                 June 21, 2011

2008-24029                                                                                                              Prof. CANILAO

Inference to the Best Explanation


How can we explain the emergence of cell phone recycling being one of the most economical and ecological endeavor of the present world?  One easy way out is to say that it is because technology, though has a lot of comfort to offer in our lives, was not able to consider the perils that it can bestow   And so with the after effects of this comforts that we are living now, we are left with no choice but taking responsibility of these, and cell phone recycling is just one of the few methodologies we consider of saving what is left to be saved.  This explanation is sort of “Miss Earth 2011” type, it could possibly explain the preceded phenomena, but it is too broad to consider as the best explanation.

China, though the leading country in telecommunication services was posted as the worst country in cell phone recycling. With Chinese people changing their phones at an average of every 15 months, cell phone recycling should be more eminent (Radcliffe, 2011).   China Mobile, the world’s biggest cell phone operator situated in China has recently been bombarded with complaints regarding its act of dropping the program about recycling cell phones launched 6 years ago. Protests aimed a call for the company to pick up the program back and honor their social responsibility as promised (Beibei, 2011).  So for some Chinese people, mostly those who are not apathetic regarding social and most probably environmental issues, cell phone recycling is considered to be a social responsibility. It is a must for the companies that produce cell phones and consumers that use them to take responsibility of it even after selling it out for the producers and its uselessness in the consumers’ perspective. Ergo, we say that cell phone recycling in China is an after effect of the overproduction or overconsumption of Chinese men and women of cell phones. Furthermore, environmental issues have been also raised vis-à-vis cell phones’ hazardous stipulations with regards to the air, the land and especially the water (Granatstein, 2010).

Given that today’s generation considers climate change as one of the most globally addressed predicament, the environment is sought to be at stake if cell phone production and consumption remains to be unmanaged. Furthermore if programs such as “Green Box”, founded by China Mobile at the end of 2005 in cooperation with cell phone producers such as Nokia and Motorola, which aims on reducing the wastage of unusable phones by providing “Green Boxes” in over thousand China Mobile service outlets and hundreds of cell phone sales centers allotted for cell-phone and cell-phone parts to be recycled, we can say that it is only a matter of time that there is still something we can do (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008).  Amidst all this state of affairs, cell-phone recycling had its peak and now it’s no on its downhill as more people see it as a form of economic advantage rather than an environmental succor (Mathias, 2008). Thus, notwithstanding the enormous amount of electronic waste (e-waste) being generated in China, only a percent goes to “official” recycling sites because people choose to sell them to workshops whose procedures create highly lethal secondary pollution rather than official sites who however do not pay them conducts the proper procedures in e-waste recycling.  Ergo, people tend to disregard its benefits regarding the reduction of environmental pollution and reside with its economical hinge (Mathias, 2008).  Other than the fact that China has the largest cell-phone producing company and that China has the largest cell-phone user population, China is also one of the largest receiver of e-waste coming from other parts of the world such as US and UK (Peters, 2007).  Knowing so well that China founded the method of cell-phone recycling, these countries thought of contributing to the run for environmentally inclined ventures by throwing their e-waste to China. And so along with the two aforementioned facts, this third fact contributes greatly to the large manufacture of cell-phone recycling in China as to take the social responsibility and thus the expectations of the people with the know-how of these societal endeavors.

Cutting the chase, the emergence of cell-phone recycling in China can be the product of the worlds attempt to adapt with the seemingly uncontrollable growth and development of technology. People have easier access to cell-phones; hence, capitalism as well grows as manufacturers in this industry want more and more people ditching their old cell-phones for new ones, leading to a significant rise in the number of superfluous and fallow phones in the world (, 2010). This significant rise depicts, as for me, the best explanation in the rise of cell-phone recycling in China. I am not saying though that capitalism is the root of this entire dilemma, (I call it dilemma for we do not even have to recycle if there exist no problem such as pollution per se) that it is against environmental fortitude, but one source of mine (Advoco, 2011) mentioned that capitalism aids the environment because it promotes investment for efficient mobilization of renewable resources, technology for innovations and profit motivations in restoring the environment and recycling which is essential in cutting the waste in the environment. Somehow this three makes sense, but come to think of it upon proper introspection, it is quite ironic because as I mentioned earlier, people getting their heads to investment rather than saving the environment, people clinging to technology which is the root of this paper, and recycling which is the by-product of this paper as well, are contributing more not to environmental ventures but otherwise. It is just yet the unknown reality that capitalism, though fundamental in some aspects of our society, is killing the remaining turf where we are to save what is left to be saved.

For now, China is left with no choice but to continue the process of recycling for the outflow of discarded and unused cell-phones still continue to rise and given that they want an ending that goes, “they have lived happily ever after.”



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Advoco. (2011, April 7). The environment: capitalism to the rescue. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from BlogSpot: Spanish Insight:

Beibei, J. (2011, February 18). Activists urge phone recycling. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from Global Times:

Granatstein, S. (2010, January 8). Following The Trail Of Toxic E-Waste. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from CBSNews:;contentBody

Mathias. (2008, January 8). The fundamental problem with China’s e-waste recycling industry. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from

Mingqiao, Z., & Jian, W. (2008, October 20). Recycle of retired handsets has huge market potential. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from China Economic Net:

Peters, M. (2007, September 10). Mobile Phone Recycling Facility. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from LetsGoMobile:

Radcliffe, S. (2011, April 21). CHINA IS WORST FOR CELL PHONE RECYCLING. Retrieved June 19, 2011, from SellCell:





The Incentive of Recycling Economy in China

28 Jul

Charity M. Gerna                                                                 June 22, 2011

08 – 11065                                                                              Professor Narcissa Canilao



The Incentive of Recycling Economy in China

“The number of mobile phone users is drastically increasing in China” (Mobile Society Research Institute 2007: 2). This leads to phone recycling that has been very abundant in China due to the large quantities of electronic materials produce every year. This is an effort by the government of China to minimize electronic waste (commonly called as ‘e-waste’), banning the import of e-waste in 2000 ( 2011) mostly in provinces such as the Guangdong Province, in the city of Shenzhen. Shenzhen became a special economic zone (SEZ) of China, developed from only a small fishing village in the province into a major industrial centre (Guo and Feng 2007: 1). “Nowhere else is China’s breathtaking economic growth on display as vividly as in this southern metropolis” (Simons 2007: n.p.).


Mobile phone producers based in Shenzhen and other industrial centres of China are given the responsibility of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) which “entails making manufacturers responsible for the entire lifecycle of the products and packaging they produce” ( This is part of the implementation of the Circular Economy Promotion Law of China that mostly regulates the discarding of e-waste to prevent high-level pollution.


There are two highlights in the implementation of Recycling Economy in general that would lead to phone recycling. China made vivid development in its high-speed economic performances. This instils the idea of China making it to the second-most successful economy in the world. However, “the economy continues to develop fast and living standards are rising dramatically without effective control of both resource consumption and environmental pollution, then…will become the major constraints on China’s economy and social development” (Huang 2007: 1). There has been a rapid development of mobile communications and an increased in the number of their phone users that if not handled properly will cause a serious environmental pollution (Yang 1008: 1). With this in mind, the country developed a strategy of recycling that focused on resource-conserving environment-friendly society (Huang 2007: 1).


The motivation that drives China to implement Recycling Economy is the peril that can cause pollutions and even death in the country. As stated above, the increase of mobile phone users and other electronic products also escalates the chance of e-waste in the country (this might not be applicable reason for other countries which supports more on agriculture). Other countries, mostly developing countries do not encourage to implement such matters because there’ll only be a few wasted electronic materials to begin with (some of them are exported to more developed nations like China and U.S. which uses the electronic materials for industrial purposes). But before putting into practice the policies of the government concerning e-waste management under the Recycling Economy, there are already laws implemented by the government in preventing e-waste. Unfortunately, the problem is that most consumers do not know such laws or documents (Mobile Society Research Institute 2007, p. 9). This resulted to unscientific way of disposing electronic materials (Li, 2008, p. 39).

“In the central government, the departments mainly involved in e-waste management include the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOC)” (Li, 2008: 40). They mostly organize and supervise the problems in e-waste, and since supervise the implementation of the Circular Economy Promotion Law effective January 1, 2009 as released by last October 2008. There are three major initiatives that made Recycling Economy effective: (1) economic development that immediately improving people’s living standards; (2) quality of life that aims to lead the adoption of consumption conscious living practices; and (3) the international factor that makes China goes on board on its own industrialization and Ecology Society (Huang 2007: 1).


China adopts a development strategy for a recycling economy in order to alleviate energy, resource and environmental pressures, and support its healthy development economy (Huang 2007: 1). “Optimal utilization of resources and recycling are the core values of China’s Recycling Economy”, where it follows a basic 3R principles that is to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle with ‘moderate consumption, low emission, high efficiency’ as its fundamental characteristics (ibid.). With the implementation of the Recycling Economy, “EPR has become an important managerial system to motivate producers to take up environmental responsibilities” ( “Improvement of products’ material-related environmental performance is the terminal goal, and eco-design is the instrumental goal. Only those industries with potential to achieve these goals are EPR applicable” (ibid.).There is also the Ordinance on the Management of Used Household Electric Appliances Recycling, started by NDRC. This is one of the most important regulations for the management of e-waste in China (Li, 2008: 42).


According to Huang, “recycling reduces the waste for land fills and reduces polluting gases that create part of the visible and lung damaging haze across China” (Huang 2007: 1). Added to that, it reduces energy consumption by which results China’s atmospheric pollution, therefore, equates to an even more clean China (ibid.). Moreover, “developing recycling economy is a systematic project, it does not only concern economic fields but also to the other fields such as society, science and technology” (ibid.). In other words, it is not just a problem faced in the country China but also the whole world (ibid.).























China’s E-Waste Problem: Facing Up to the Challenge. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


China Law Update October 2008. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Guo, W. and Feng, Y., (2007). Special Economic Zones and Competitiveness: A Case Study of Shenzen, the People’s Republic of China. Asian Development Bank. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from…/PRM…/SpecialEconomicZoneShenzhen.pdf


Huang, H., (2007). Recycling Economy in China. China’s Research Center for Economic Transition, Beijing University of Technology. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Li, L., et. al., (2008). Electrical and electronic waste in China: Generation and Management. Research Institute of Solid Waste Management, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences Beijing, P.R.China. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


 Mobile Society Research Institute, (2007). Environmental Issues related to Mobile Communication in China. NTT DOCOMO, INC. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Simon, C., (2007). Shenzhen: Vivid display of China Economy, Pollution and Social ills. International Staff of, Texas. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Study on the Motivational Mechanism of Extended Producer Responsibility. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from,Yi_.pdf


The Concepts of Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Yang, J., (2008). A Report on E – Waste Issues Related to Mobile Telecommunications in China. NTT DOCOMO, INC. Retrieved 18 June 2011 from


Rethinking Money and Inventions on Digital Age: Cellphones Recycling in China

28 Jul

Lillian Leslie F. Ortiz                                                SocSci180- Epistemological Issues

                                                                                    Prof. Narcisa Paredes-Canilao Ph.D 


Rethinking Money and Inventions on Digital Age:

Cellphones Recycling in China


            The Digital Age or the age where electronic innovations becomes the trend also brings exciting possibilities. China has the biggest populations who are cellular phone (cellphones) users and over the years China has made great effort to reduce electronic waste (e-waste). There are many issues to consider when studying recycling of cellphones in China- and these would be helpful in explaining what would be the inferences to the best explanation.


Chi, Xinwen Informal electronic waste recycling: A sector review with special focus on China. Elsevier. 2010. Accessed at June 17, 2011


This academic journal includes discussions and empirical data that would explain the issue of electronic recycling in China. I chose it as my IBE to the topic because from all the sources I read, this source is the best explanation to the phenomenon. Most of them pointed out that the very reason of this phenomenon is the overflowing production; this source however explained the phenomenon from the time it started to the political issues to the theories and related topics about it. This claim is supported through the explanation that term ‘informal’ which was used politically in the Developing countries but then evolved to the term ‘self-sufficient economy’ in any countries. The simplicity of the explanation is very obvious in the paper with the use of theories and empirical tables. In fact, it is more precise than the other sources. It covers all the possible scopes. It sets some arguments to its own data and opens the link between other factors or issues. For example, it does not just point out the market but also the characters involve in this event (producers, consumers, the government and the workers). It also includes a wide basis on the issues. It offers explanations and critique to the information being presented. Here, one of the reasons the journal pointed out is the overflowing production of electronic gadgets in the markets and China became the dumping site of these since 2008. Thus, inventing another product from the wastes became an excuse to produce money. The term electronic waste (e-waste) management is materialized through the dissemination of Green Boxes all over in China to collect outdated electronic gadgets among consumers. It is very interesting to note that consumers saw this as environmental friendly. Recycling for them is an eco-friendly step. But, these arguments are debatable; electronics are made up with processed chemicals and toxic materials such as leads, mercury and the like which are all threatening to health and to the environment. It is very easy to point out that the solution of the overflowing production of gadgets can be best explained in recycling. It can also open up exciting possibilities like cheaper gadgets, more innovative and the like. But, this is just one of the reasons or issues why China tolerates recycling. The source also remarkably blames the illegal shipping of electronic wastes from US to China. The totality of its evidences also contributes to the degree of understanding.

The issue of verisimilitude is also applied here. In other sources I gathered like news and the like, they depict the events that actually happened but this source targets the closest to what happened ergo, the source has the ability to speak and willingness to tell the truth. It not only show what is happening but also explains the underlying events. The authors also became the important here because since they are not part of the event, they therefore have distance and more objective. Their degree of attention in the topic also summarize their wide basis to study other related events happened. The interesting thing I have learned from reading my sources is that, in finding a good hypothesis to the subject matter, the source must offer a no simple or easy answers. The other sources also depict the real picture but this one has the grasp to the topic. It is more academic in nature to use as a reference. It includes obvious explanations, effects and issues yet well-examined. For example, what are the other impacts of cellphone recycling in the community i.e health, jobs, people and the government? How these actors react on the issue? In this case, I also consider the time-lapse of the paper. According to historical evidences, the longer the time-lapse- the more reliable- thus it then includes the more sources and more interpretations to the subject matter.

As compare to other sources which only highlights one issue, I do not say that their claims are all incorrect. To me, this source only shows clearer and more advance study to the topic.

China: Phone Recycling

28 Jul

Aretha Janin O. Garcia                                                                                Social Science 180


China: Phone Recycling

“With the fast development of the communication industry, tens of millions of cell-phones are being replaced each year in China. According to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the number of cell-phone users has reached 583 million” (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008). However there is lack of effective recovery system, many unused cellphones were “buried and burned, or flowed to the second-hand market, which have caused great harm to the environment and society” (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008). “Cell phones in landfills can leach toxics, such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic, into the environment (Earthworks, 2007).

China is faced with the problem of huge volumes of e-wastes. EU’s Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive defines e-wastes

as abbreviation for electrical and electronic wastes, meaning waste personal computers and other electrical and electronic products that include electrical/electronic wastes and waste electrical/electronic equipment. The directive applies to the following ten categories of wastes: large home appliances; small home appliances; IT and telecommunications equipment; consumer equipment; lighting equipment; electrical and electronic tools; toys, leisure and sports equipment; medical devices; monitoring and control instruments; and automatic dispensers (Bo & Yamamoto, 2010: 500-501).

A team of scientists from the US and China stated that “the world’s growing waste mountain of mobile phones, computers and other electronic goods are being illegally recycled in unregulated and primitive conditions in China that causes significant toxic pollution” (Ecologist, 2010), as China imports 70% of e-wastes in the whole world (Bo & Yamamoto, 2010: 500). Correspondent Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes reported last November 2008 that “much of the poison is coming out of the homes, schools and offices of America” (CBSNews: Solly Granatstein, 2009: 1). Illegal dumping and improper treatment of those e-wastes have caused environmental pollution; posing a threat to people’s health. “Establishment of a proper e-waste treatment system is now receiving attention; as a large issue to be solved” (Bo & Yamamoto, 2010: 500).

Based on Greenpeace accounts on recycling work in Guiyu, they found

women heating circuit boards over a coal fire, pulling out chips and pouring off the lead solder. Men were using what is literally a medieval acid recipe to extract gold. Pollution has ruined the town. Drinking water is trucked in. Scientists have studied the area and discovered that Guiyu has the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. They found pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage, and that seven out of ten kids have too much lead in their blood (CBSNews: Solly Granatstein, 2009: 2).

Moreover, “the recyclers are peasant farmers who couldn’t make a living on the land. Destitute, they’ve come by the thousands to get $8 a day. They were afraid and didn’t want to be seen, but theirs are the hands that are breaking down America’s computers” (CBSNews: Solly Granatstein, 2009: 3).

Recycling cellular phones “would greatly influence the market order and the ecological environment” (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008). Data shows that

the raw materials of cell-phone contain more than ten kinds of valuable metals including gold, silver, copper and cobalt. Through scientific decomposition, at least 150 gram of gold, 3 kilogram of silver and 100 kilogram of copper can be extracted from one ton of used cell-phones, which is thirty times more than the gold ore; the cell-phone plastic can be used to make furniture, toys and auto parts; the packaging materials can be reproduced into fiberboard; the rechargeable batteries can be used to make television picture tube (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008).

We can infer that the phenomenon of phone recycling in China is a part of addressing the bigger problem of increasing e-wastes in China. Illegal dumping and improper treatment of e-wastes affected the environment and the health of the people, as shown on what happened in Guiyu. Thus if addressed properly, recycling cellular phones “would greatly influence the market order and the ecological environment” (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008). Furthermore, “Zhu Qiaoling, a professor from Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, believes that if recycle of used cell-phones can be systemized, it would make a “Golden Industry” with vast potential” (Mingqiao & Jian, 2008).






















Inference to the Best Hypothesis: Cell Phone Recycling in Shenzhen, China

28 Jul


Barrias, Ariel S.                                                                                                 Socsci 180

08-83313                                                                                                          21 June 2011



Inference to the Best Hypothesis:

Cell Phone Recycling inShenzhen,China


Account: The recycled cell phones are done to minimize the cost of manufacturing new cell phones—business over other concerns.


One important aspect of recycling cell phones inShenzhen,Chinais its advantageous design in cost-cutting for the production of chips and electronic parts.


The idea of recycling cell phones is to produce important parts that will be used again without compromising product quality. Aside from lower wages, the production of these chips does not need the conversion of raw materials to electronics parts. What they do instead is to recycle phones and sell vital parts to other companies.


Moreover, this explains why a building inChinais allocated primarily for this kind of business. The number of businesspersons investing in recycling cell phones tells us that there is money in reproducing certain electronic parts.


Thus, the monetary incentives when people engage on such scheme paves to way to the existence of cell phone recycling shops.


This account, based on the article, explains that cell phone recycling in ShenzhenChinais not primarily for the environmental sphere but for the effective use of existing products for business-related concerns. However, this in only one of the several domains of cell phone recycling. We have to also note its indirect effects or offshoots.


If the common problem of several countries is on how to dispose unused and broken cell phones, cell phone recycling can be an answer. This mechanism can reduce the total radioactive or biohazard wastes of disposed cell phones. Although this is not an absolute tool to eliminate all kinds of wastes that cell phones bring, it may lessen the aggregate collection of these kinds of wastes.


However, the more practical question that needs to be answered is where do all the wastes go? Even if cell phone recycling is effective in reducing cell phone wastes, without proper disposal and effective garbage dumpsites to catch all the leaks and possible risks of chemical wastes will mean nothing. Effective recycling and disposal of cell phones should be a task of all concerned stakeholders—the individual, product companies and the government.


Thus, cell phone recycling is not used and beneficial for businesses alone. It may produce other possible effects for the protection and maintenance of the environment.





dkousemaker. (2010). Shenzhen phone recycling. Techtravels, weblog. Accessed June 17, 2011, 8:00pm. Retrieved from