Friday, November 16, 2012

The Growing Problem of Cell Phone Waste

Electronic devices continue to be the fastest growing waste stream in the US and cell phones are a major part of this. In 2011, manufacturers produced more than 1.68 billion wireless phones worldwide. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that fewer than 10 percent of discarded mobile phones will be recycled.

Regular phone upgrades are driving the growth of electronic waste. Companies like Apple regularly upgrade their technology and encourage users to buy new models. This built-in obsolesce is the kind of irresponsible business practices that drive profits but destroy the environment.

AT&T concedes that there is “much work to be done” as millions of devices are discarded every year without being recycled.

Despite the efforts of leading American mobile phone companies like AT&T and Sprint, the US still lags behind Europe when it comes to responsible business practices. A Verdantix study, found that sustainability is still not central to the business strategy and product marketing of the major US telcom firms the way it is for European telecom industry.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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