Several experts have urged the Chinese government to help establish a better mechanism for recycling used cell phones as they pose a threat to the environment. Most Chinese users are not inclined to give their old phones to a licensed recycler, because of privacy concerns and the low recovery price. China produces nearly 100 million of the 400 million mobile phones abandoned globally every year. In Shanghai alone, about 5 million phones are disposed every year, but a proper local recyclers only received around 500 units each month …
Genuine recyclers could salvage 300 to 400 grams of gold and 500 grams of platinum for every ton of phones. People’s unwillingness to send their old phones to proper recyclers had instead rendered this valuable resource a source of pollution. Industry insiders said that the electronic components and the plastic casing of a phone contain toxic substances that pose health risks. An unlicensed recycler will burn the material in open air to extract the precious metals, which creates both air and water pollution.
Although China formally introduced regulations governing the recycling of electronic goods since 2011, which covers TV sets, refrigerators, washing machines, and also offer subsidies to recyclers of these goods, mobile phones are not part of the list. The lack of policy support has become a blind spot in the recycling of used phones. Several experts had been asking the government to establish a complete mechanism for recycling used phones and set up recycling facilities. The government should also crack down on private workshops, so they are unable to sell refurbished phones back into the market.
SOURCE: Economic Information Daily (Chinese content)
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