IT and telecoms industries are finally cottoning on to the fact that data cables, microchips, motherboards and the like do not grow on trees. The amount of electrical waste produced by the economically developed west is staggering, thousands of tonnes of the stuff is needlessly dumped in landfill every year, even more incomprehensible is the fact that approximately 98.9% of it is recyclable or reusable. And yet millions of tonnes of raw materials are ripped out of the earth each year to be refined and engineered into your mobiles, laptops and PC's.
The mobile phone recycling market does seem to have got its foot in the financial door, with the market expected to be worth $5,240 million by the end of 2011. Green mobiles are big business, with both Nokia and Samsung developing environmentally conscious working practices, from the sourcing of raw materials, and their safe disposal through to more energy efficient handsets and responsible recycling schemes.
The telecom industry is slowly realising the potential of green mobiles produced from recycled and biodegradable materials. Part of the challenge facing the recycling drive, is trying to rid the sector of the stigma that recycled tech is somehow inferior to devices from virgin sources. The message they are trying to get across is that environmentally responsible tech can be completely cutting edge; sceptics seem to believe that recycled tech is in some way flimsy or unreliable. It has to be remembered that these phones aren’t whittled from bamboo leaves and good will; many recycled models now have some of the most advanced production techniques behind them.
Alongside mobile phone recycling, the IT industry is implementing measures to reduce its environmental impact by recycling the vast amounts of e-waste that is generated by the sector each year. Electrical waste can contain environmentally harmful chemicals, which if dumped in landfill, will cause irreversible damage to eco systems.
It will take a concerted effort from the IT and telecoms sector to win the on-going war against e-waste.