How Unused Mobile Phones are Squandering Gold Worth 100 million Pounds

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A new study has revealed that unused mobile phones are actually squandering gold worth 100 million pounds in the UK.Contracts that promote frequent upgrades, and a lack of effective recycling, have built up a mobile-phone mountain of an estimated 85 million handsets, the Independent reported.

Dr James Suckling of the University of Surrey said that each of these phones has been manufactured using precious metals such as gold, copper and silver, which are costly to extract, both in cash terms and environmental impact.Replacing just the gold would cost about 110 million pounds and release about 84,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, he further added.

The paper suggested a “take-back clause” in mobile phone contracts to encourage consumers to return handsets at the end of a contract.The researchers also advocated a “cloud-based product service system” in which memory would be stored on an internet server to reduce the need for complex processing by the phone, so less precious resources would be needed inside it.

The study is published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment.

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