A new study into improving environmental and commercial resourcefulness has laid out the blueprint for creating a 'circular economy' whereby products and materials are restored and regenerated much more widely, with emphasis being placed on leasing, renting and sharing rather than ownership and consumption.
"In a circular economy, products are designed for ease of reuse, disassembly and refurbishment, or recycling, with the understanding that it is the reuse of vast amounts of material reclaimed from end-of-life products, rather than the extraction of resources, that is the foundation of economic growth," the study says.
Environmental groups have campaigned for this shift in consumer attitudes for years; highlighting the need for a radical rethink on how products are sourced, manufactured and advertised.
One area that has been strident with its reproachful stance on waste and unsustainability is the mobile phone recycling industry. Every year millions of unused or unwanted handsets bypass lucrative mobile recycling schemes; which offer cash for phones along with a commitment to prolong the life of our out-dated technology.
Selling a phone to one of the numerous online mobile recyclers ensures that your old handset is remarketed in emergent international economies, providing crucial communication links between rural communities in areas where landlines are not an option.
Mobile recyclers point toward the costly manufacture of virgin mobile handsets in terms of the raw material extraction involved. Underneath the glossy exterior of the modern mobile phone lurks a chemical cocktail which is both extremely hazardous when dumped in landfill and cripplingly expensive to extract.
The study highlights the problem: ‘About 65 billion tonnes (U.K.) of raw materials entered the global supply chain in 2010; and, by 2020, that number is expected to rise to about 82 billion tonnes’.
The positive message from the mobile recyclers is we can all pursue our own ‘circular economy’; albeit on a much smaller scale than this new report, simply by thinking ‘sell my phone’, next time you’re looking to upgrade your phone. It is important to break the chain of ‘take-make-dispose’ and explore new ways of extending the brief life-span of current mobile phones.