Mobile phones top of household gadget waste

Our lives are increasingly full of electronics. From computers to mobile phones and gaming devices, we’re depending on these items to carry out work, study, entertain ourselves and just simply make things a bit easier.

Published: Sun 1 Aug 2010, 12:04 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:51 AM

A recent survey in the UK found that almost half of all households in that country had unused mobile phones laying around and a third of households had unused cameras, personal audio and TVs. Computers came lower on the list with only a fifth of households keeping them after they really stopped using them.

What the numbers are for the UAE I don’t know but since it seems like everyone has at least two phones here I guess they’d be higher.

If you’ve already upgraded to iPhone 4 or if you plan to do so soon, what will happen to your existing smartphone? Will it end up in the trash to add to the landfill, will you give it away, will you sell it or will it just live the remainder of its days gathering dust in a drawer?

Whichever is the case, Apple fans are known for hanging on to their old gear and not sell it or give it away. I still have my first generation iPhone as well as iPhone 3G and I bet you that when I get iPhone 4 I will keep the 3GS as well.

Along with all electronics companies, Apple has in recent years made a big deal of how environmentally friendly their products are. Included with their products is now an “environmental status report”, which for iPhone 4 includes mentions of how PVC, mercury, arsenic and other substances are not used in the product. That’s quite a change from just a few years ago when Greenpeace labeled Apple as “iPoison + iWaste.” Earlier this year Greenpeace instead said that “Apple is leading” and the other companies are trying to catch up.

But even though Apple’s products may be less damaging to the environment than they used to be you still need to take care. If you are willing to give your old gear up consider recycling it. Increasingly you can find boxes in stores into which you can slip your old phone and it goes to recycling. If they don’t have such a facility ask them — it’s really only by us consumers putting pressure on the sellers and distributors that things are going to change.

That’s something we should all be much more careful with, how our gadgets are disposed of. We need to make sure that when we’re done with our gadgets we let them go in a responsible manner. Our gadgets should not end up making more damage to our fragile planet Earth than we’re already doing in other ways. Keep that in mind when you buy your next one.

Magnus Nystedt is Managing Editor of, Tech Lifestyle Magazine based in Dubai. With an aim to educate, inform and entertain consumers, he reports on what’s happening in the world of tech, gadgets and gaming with a local and regional perspective. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt.

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