Used Phones and the Precious Metals..Recycle

How Old Phones Hold Potential for Precious Metal Values

Gold-encrusted smartphones might be out of your reach, but your standard phone might be more valuable than you think. Smartphones could, potentially, hold precious metals such as platinum, silver, and even gold. While the amounts are small, they have value in many ways. Precious metals are being used in everyday items, more than you know, so the demand is high. The truth is that smartphones do hold a hidden value, more than what you see on the surface. So, how can smartphones have a hidden value?

The Hidden Elements Inside Your Phone

Smartphones are small but are packed with metals of all varieties. It’s estimated that Apple smartphones alone, contain at least 0.30 grams of silver, 0.030 grams of gold, 15 grams of copper, 25 grams of aluminium, along with platinum and palladium. While these amounts might not seem much, they’re still worth something. There are lots of metals in smartphones, some rare ones, including terbium and yttrium. There is also glass, batteries, and plastic – all of which hold value. 

Where the Problem Lies

E-waste. Electronic waste is thrown into the dump far too often. Every year, thousands of tonnes of e-waste go into the bin which ends up at the dump. It’s left to rot there for years. In some instances, elements of the device can be reused or recycled for another purpose. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often, and it creates unnecessary e-waste on an industrial scale. If smartphones are also thrown into landfills, they not only cause a danger to the planet, but to people. Rich nations often send their landfill off to the poorest countries in the world and dumped. 

It creates a risk to the people who sort or go through e-waste in hopes of finding something of value. Batteries could explode or leak, creating a dangerous chemical spill. All the while, letting precious and often rare, earth elements slip away. These parts can be used for another purpose, which creates less waste. 

Should You Harvest Old Phones?

You might love the idea of hoarding dozens of old smartphones in hopes of striking oil, but that’s no guarantee. Besides, it’s not the smartest way to earn back something from your phone. The cost to obtain a smartphone, even an old one, might be far more than what the metal components are worth one day. So, while it’s not smart to throw the phone in the drawer, you shouldn’t throw it in the bin either. Fortunately, there are ways to recycle the phone, such as trading them in to a store or selling online. 

Of course, the precious metals found within the smartphones are worth something but only on an industrial scale. It’s unlikely you’ll get such quantities to make money from them unless you have a free recycle business. Even then, you’ll need quite a few to make them profitable. That doesn’t mean you should ditch the smartphones when they’re obsolete. You should look at ways to recycle or reuse them if it means to reduce e-waste. 

Do Your Part to Save the Planet

Smartphones contain many elements, even precious metals. These metals are worth something. While they’re found in small quantities, they still hold some value. You cannot take these things for granted. Of course, holding onto your obsolete phone isn’t necessary either, especially if it’s going to sit in a drawer for the next ten years. Fortunately, you can recycle and reuse these items. This not only helps you get back something but help do your part for the planet too.