Generation, Collection, and Recycling of Used and End-of-Life Mobile Phones

Generation, Collection, and Recycling of Used and End-of-Life Mobile Phones

Yong-Chul Jang (Chungnam National University, South Korea), Seunghun Lee (Chungnam National University, South Korea) and Hwidong Kim (Gannon University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch022
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


Mobile phone use has exponentially grown worldwide from a few subscribers in the 1970s to more than 6 billion in 2013. As mobile phones are frequently replaced and upgraded, enormous volumes of mobile phones are retired each year. Mobile phones and accessories typically contain a variety of valuable elements as well as many toxic chemicals. The toxic substances may cause serious human health problems if they are not properly managed. Thus, environmentally sound management of used and end-of-life mobile phones is an issue of growing concern around the world. Although a large quantity of mobile phones are disposed each year, only a small fraction of these phones are collected and managed, and collection programs occur primarily in developed countries. Considering the potential environmental impacts of used and end-of-life mobile phones, understanding the current knowledge of the management of mobile phone waste is critical. This chapter reviews the generation rates, collection systems and recycling, and the impacts of obsolete mobile phones, based on review of available literature and research conducted by a number of leading and pioneering scholars in the field.
Chapter Preview


Due to consumer demand and rapidly increasing technologies, consumers continuously replace older mobile phones with new ones, resulting in the generation of substantial amounts of used and end-of-life mobile phones. Another factor that contributes the large amount of mobile phone waste that accumulates each year is the relatively short life spans of mobile phones, compared to other electrical and electronic equipment. In addition to inert materials, mobile phones consist of many valuable materials and toxic chemicals. Thus, environmentally sound management of mobile phone waste has become a topic of growing concern around the world.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Urban Mining: Reclamation of materials, rare metals and other resources from the electric and electronic equipment that has reached its end-of-life.

Generation: Quantity of mobile phones that enter a waste stream before recycling.

Recycling: The resource recovery of valuable resources from mobile phone waste by adopting material separation processes such as crushing, shredding, magnetic separation, and smelting.

Mobile Phone Waste: A mobile phone that reaches end-of-life and is no longer in use by consumers.

Collection: The act of collecting mobile phone waste for reuse, recycling, and disposal.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): A waste management policy to reduce environmental impacts from a product upon disposal and recycle it by the product manufacturers who are responsible for the entire life cycle of the product, especially for the collection, and recycling and treatment of the product.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: