By B.N. Frank
Materials needed to make digital, electronic, and wireless devices and infrastructure are often referred to as “Conflict Minerals” because of their devastating environmental and humanitarian costs which include massive amounts of toxic Electronic Waste being added to landfills.
Tech companies aren’t doing enough to keep their devices out of landfills, and neither are we
It seems like every tech company is trying to sell their products as environmentally responsible. That’s why Apple claims its latest iPhone 12 line comes without a charging block in the box, for example.
But that hasn’t stopped tech companies from coming out with a host of new phones every year, and the old models we own get discarded, sometimes even thrown away in the trash and end up in landfills.
In 2019, nearly 153 million smartphones were sold according to Gartner, and in 2018, users were keeping their phones for about 2 years, but that time period is likely to drop as folks upgrade to 5G-capable phones.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit said that new influx of discarded phones isn’t easy to manage. “We don’t have the technology to take a truck full of old iPhones, molt them down, grind them up and make new iPhones out of them. It’s flat out physically impossible.”
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