Millions of old mobile phones are lying unused in Czech households and companies, and recycling them would produce tons of materials

Experts estimate that there are several million unused mobile phones in the Czech Republic. Most of them are in households, but hundreds of thousands are lying around in company warehouses. Recycling them would produce tons of materials for the manufacture of new phones. What’s more, batteries and LCD screens belong among waste which is hazardous for the environment. Companies can even make money out of the bulk recycling of old devices.

Mobile phones are among the most frequently replaced electronics in households and companies. People acquire new ones approximately every 2 to 3 years, while companies have their own regulations governing the regular replacement of technology. 

“Czechs have not yet gotten used to recycling old phones. They regard them as valuable objects which could still be of use, or keep them for nostalgic reasons. The situation in companies is slightly better – technology is purchased in bulk, and management doesn’t want to store old phones. If a company places an order with us for the delivery and setup of new phones, they usually hand over the old ones to us immediately. Nevertheless, according to our estimates, hundreds of thousands of phones are lying unused in Czech companies,” said Edward Plch from System4u, which deals with mobile device management.

During recycling, the phones’ parts can be immediately used to manufacture new ones, or are broken down into individual elements which then return to the manufacturing process.

“Apart from plastic, mobile phones also contain gold, cobalt, copper, silver, mercury and arsenic. If the telephone ends up in the trash, and then makes its way to a landfill and an incinerator, it’s a major burden on the environment,” explained Edward Plch. Both companies and individuals are discouraged from recycling by the possible misuse of the data in the phone.

After all, the restoration of factory settings is not sufficient for the permanent deletion of data – more complex tools are required.

If a company hands over its old phones to us, we will expertly remove all the data from them – this step is an integral and very important part of recycling,” noted Edward Plch from System4u.

“Companies are gradually getting used to the fact that sensitive data on employees’ mobile phones must be secured, but then it often happens that they leave devices whose content was not deleted lying around in a cabinet for several years; they must think of security constantly, during both purchasing and liquidation,” added Plch.

The environmentally friendly liquidation of mobile phones doesn’t cost companies anything; they may even get paid for newer phones. 

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