Recupel found a particularly humorous way to sensitize on the importance of recycling old cell phones: organize their #phuneral. The ceremony was held last Sunday at Brigittines’ chapel, Brussels, after that the non-profit association created a Facebook event inviting Belgians to say goodbye to their old GMS.
The celebration might seem funny, but the subject is not. More than 3,2 millions of old cell phones are drag in the drawers of Belgian households. Only 8% is recycled. This is really unfortunate since the devices are full of raw materials that could be re-used. Indeed, several tons of plastic and several hundred kilograms of precious metals (such as gold, silver, and palladium) could be recovered through the recycling of old cell phones.
However, despite the many campaigns on the issue, only a few Belgians bring their phones back to recycle them. According to Saar Bentein, Recupel’s spokesman, “One of the main reasons for this failure is the sentimental value given to the object. It is important for us to reinforce the general awareness on the subject. The more devices we collect, the more we can reuse their raw materials. In this way, we will have less and less need to resort to traditional mining”. In fact, always according to Recupel, even 99% of old phones’ materials can be recycled.
In this case, it has to be underlined the double importance of recycling. In fact, Saar Bentein concludes: “Urban mining is not only good for the environment, but also for society. Just think of countries like Congo, where cobalt contained in cell phones batteries is often extracted in inhumane conditions”.