The number of mobile phone users globally is astonishing, with over 7 billion people using mobile phones and approximately 5 billion using smartphones. These devices play a crucial role in our everyday lives. However, older models become obsolete as newer electronic devices continue to advance.
According to a survey by Nevis Security, a Swiss software company, the majority of people (62%) replace their smartphones every three to four years. Additionally, a notable number of respondents (around 20%) stated that they change their phones every year.
In addition to getting a new electronic device, people often have to buy new cables and chargers that are compatible with the latest phone models due to which many people have a collection of old devices, chargers, and cables that are often forgotten and end up being thrown away, contributing to more than 51,000 tonnes of electronic and electrical equipment waste each year.
A lot of people are unaware that throwing away old phone chargers and cables in regular trash bins can harm the environment because they are made up of non-biodegradable materials like plastics and metals.
Polyvinyl chloride – commonly known as PVC – is a plastic that is often used in chargers and cables. It breaks down very slowly, typically taking 30 years or more to degrade. PVC also fragments into harmful microplastic particles..
The proper management of electronic waste is crucial, but it is often ignored and a large portion of it is unaccounted for.
However, any electronic waste that has a plug, battery, or cable can be handled in an eco-friendly way. All cables have copper, which is a valuable material, so they can be recycled. Additionally, lots of common cable plastics can also be recycled.
There are tons of ways to handle your old cables and chargers in a sustainable way. By focusing on preventing electronic waste, reusing and recycling, you’ll not only be helping the environment, but also making sure that today’s stuff can be used as materials in the future.
Reference- National Geographic, BBC, The Conversation, WIRED, Statista