Old cell phones contain rare earths and other raw materials that can be recycled – if the devices don’t gather dust in drawers. A survey shows that there is an awareness of the problem among the population.
ADiscarded cell phones contain valuable raw materials – yet they often gather dust in drawers or even end up in the household rubbish without permission. According to a survey, consumers are very aware of the problem: As the German Federal Environment Foundation (DBU) announced on Sunday in Osnabrück, according to a survey, 87 percent of German citizens consider a deposit on cell phones to be sensible.
For the representative survey, the opinion research institute Forsa evaluated the answers of 1009 citizens aged 18 and over who were questioned at the end of February and beginning of March this year. According to this, 56 percent would find it “very good” and a further 31 percent “good” if a deposit system were introduced as an incentive for giving up old or defective smartphones so that the devices can be recycled.
“Electronic waste is becoming a massive problem in Germany and around the world,” said DBU General Secretary Alexander Bonde. The wish of the Germans formulated in the survey should therefore also be understood as a “wake-up call to the legislature”. Bonde advocated encouraging people to participate in order to create cycles in raw materials – “and thus not only save precious resources, but also the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide”.
He lamented an “ex and hopping mentality”, which is a “vicious circle” and will ruin the planet sooner or later. Around 91 percent of those surveyed stated that repairs are often not financially worthwhile because they are expensive. A large majority of those surveyed (84 percent) also take the view that the manufacturers planned the products in such a way that they hardly lasted longer than the statutory guarantee period. In addition, 75 percent said it was “too time-consuming to find a suitable provider for the repair”.
According to the DBU, there were almost 54 million tons of electronic waste worldwide in 2019, from monitors to smartphones and refrigerators. In cell phones that contain, for example, copper, cobalt and tantalum as well as silver, gold and nickel or rare earths, around 80 percent of the components can be recycled.