Electronics Waste: Recycling of Mobile Phones
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Post-Consumer Waste Recycling and Optimal Production
compared to the waste management of the office or factory waste. Waste management at the
corporation’s own operations is much easier to control and therefore high recovery rates for
waste can be achieved. Post-consumer waste management faces different kind of challenges
for post-consumer waste management are in the first phase of the end of life process, the
collection.
At company premises processes can be well managed, waste amounts can be predicted and
people are easier to train. For example at Nokia production sites Environmental
Management Systems (EMS) and the ISO 14001 standards are used to control and manage
the environmental aspects. The goal of the Nokia EMS is to improve the environmental
performance, where one focus area is waste management. Most of the waste from Nokia
factories is packaging waste: cardboard boxes, wood pallets and different types of plastic
packaging. Typically the amount of cardboard is about 26 % and the amount of plastic 37 %
of the total waste stream. E-waste amounts to only 1 % of the total waste amounts. Waste
utilization rates are very high at Nokia plants: average of 92 %, so that 6 out of the 10
factories have utilization rate of over 96 %. Waste utilization rates vary because of the local
infrastructure and recycling partner availability and because of the small differences in
waste separation at the manufacturing sites. Most importantly all the waste that is created
can be sorted and directed to dedicated waste companies for recycling. This is an activity
that takes place every day. Most of the challenges that consumer e-waste recycling faces,
from awareness to collection are mainly solved in the factory environment.
Consumer plays a big part in the first phase of the value chain, so the recycling behavior of the
individual is crucial for the whole process. For the consumer convenience and awareness are
the key points that will encourage them to start recycling. All the e-waste that can be collected
needs to be directed to proper recycling facilities so that recycling happens in an eco-efficient
manner to avoid contamination and ensure the efficient recovery of resources. E-waste
recycling today has three main challenges that need to be improved in the way to the full
recycling society. These are consumer awareness and collection, best practices in processing
such as cost efficiency and value generation, and getting the material to proper recycling.
3.1 Awareness
Consumer study by Nokia shows that less than 10 % of people have recycled their old
mobile phones. Most of the unused phones are still at home, making the recycling potential
huge. The lack of awareness that recycling is even possible and knowledge on existing
recycling programs and locations are the main obstacles for consumers. This means that the
first challenge in motivating people to recycle electronics is to get them to understand that it
is possible and to show how can be done.
3.1.1 Consumer behavior
There have been many studies on consumer attitudes to recycling. A schema picture is show
in the figure 2 to summarize the different features that have an impact to persons recycling
behavior. The first layer around the consumer describes the direct impact on the recycling
decision, such as accessibility and attitude. The next layer shows the ways how to motivate
the recycling behavior, like past experiences or transparency of the system, and the
following layer presents the different ways to influence recycling behavior from marketing
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Related links:

What to do with your old phones across Europe
Recycle Your Cell Phone
The First Mobile Phone with a Built-In Camera
Your child’s first smartphone
Mobile telephone history
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