Friday, 19 July, 2019

The recycling of smartphones in France

A great day of mobile phone recycling is scheduled for November 15 throughout France. Last year, nearly 1.5 million mobile phones were collected by operators, barely 15% of sales in the same year. We can do a lot better, especially since the reasons for recycling are multiple.

Every year, around 24 million new mobile phones are sold in France. About one mobile for three inhabitants. It is estimated that 92% of French households own at least one mobile phone. Part of the fault is the programmed obsolescence of the batteries. According to a survey by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, this obsolescence offers a limited lifetime for the smartphone and obliges the consumer to change it every two years.

But what happens to unused mobiles? In a recently published survey, 41% of French people say they keep their old phone ” at home ” and 22% say they ” gave it to a loved one “. Only 9% of respondents say they have sorted or recycled their old mobile.

Mobile recycling: psychological brakes and sentimental reasons

Figures confirmed by the three major French operators. In 2017, Bouygues Telecom, Orange and SFR sold to each of them nearly 10 million mobile phones. At the same time, they only harvested 1.5 million. Which means that 85% of unused laptops, which still work, end up in a drawer.

The first reason is that unlike a fridge, systematically recycled in case of renewal, a laptop can easily be stored. There are also psychological brakes: when you change phones, the first reflex is often to keep the oldest “just in case ” the new one breaks down. We can add sentimental explanations. Although it is now very simple to transfer photos and videos to a personal computer or a cloud, and even keep messages and contacts on a new device, a phone remains an intimate object that retains many secrets. And nobody wants to reveal his private life or his personal data.

85% of the components are recyclable

Especially since the reasons to recycle his mobile are not lacking. This device, which may seem common today, is a real mine of raw materials (gold, lead, silver, nickel, cobalt, copper …). It is estimated that 85% of its components are recyclable. Collect the mobile users, so it is also a gesture to save the planet. Even to create jobs. According to a statistic of the French Telecom Federation, the collection and processing each year of 1.5 million mobiles would create about 125 jobs.

The process is not complicated. It is enough to bring it back to a point of sale, all the major operators having committed themselves to respect the conditions of the FFTelecoms charter of reuse of mobile phones, established in 2010 in partnership with the Ministry of Ecology. Financially, it’s rather interesting since the operator will buy the old phone in exchange for a voucher for a new model. Bouygues offered a voucher of 100 euros for the recovery of a phone. Interesting, no?

Recycling a mobile against a voucher

If the device is at the end of its life, it will be sent by the operator to recycling to recover the raw materials, this operation is more commonly called the eco attitude . he  It is also possible to entrust an old telephone directly to an eco-organization that complies with environmental regulations. Indeed, although the reviews on reconditioned smartphones diverge, when mobiles still work, the operator will repackage before selling at a broken price. Also note that many online stores also offer to buy our laptops. Just type the name of the model, type its features and a price is proposed.

It is finally possible to make your old smartphone, a fair smartphone by giving it to a humanitarian organization. Your phone will live a second life in developing countries, where mobiles are rare and expensive.

The mobile recycling day, organized on November 15th, is an opportunity to change our habits. Still, France is not the only country in the world to face this challenge of recycling, hope that the smartphones of tomorrow facilitate these global issues.