Every hour of every day over 1000 mobile phones are replaced in the UK.
An estimated 85 million phones are lying unused in the UK.
The value of just the precious metals in 85 million discarded phones exceeds £150 million.
In 2008, only 3% of phones were recycled, though 41% were passed on or sold. 44% were kept by their users.
By the end of 2010 Apple had sold approximately 74 million iPhones containing components worth £8.5 billion.
Mobile phones contain over 40 different chemical elements and hundreds of components.
Many chemical elements used in mobile phones are now classified as ‘CRITICAL MATERIALS’ due to finite resources and geopolitical situations in the source countries.
China is the main producer of Indium (In). It is essential in the manufacture of LCD TV’s, computers and touch screens as indium tin oxide (ITO). No viable alternative to ITO has yet been developed.
The UN has cited conflict minerals or blood minerals used in mobile phones as a major cause of the prolonged war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is possible that at least one important element in mobile phone manufacture will become economically untenable within 15 years.