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Mobile phone recycling - How do they make money?

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Veni Vidi Vici

Well-known Member
Just wondering how the places that buy your old mobile phones make money? Do they just sell the phone? Any ideas?
 

Kieron

Distinguished Member
I believe they get shipped to developing countries.

Ah, so that explains why I see so many Scottish people with 8210's ;)
 

Marvin the Android

Well-known Member
Actually I think you will find that most are stripped down to salvage raw materials. Most phones contain a surprising amount of precious materials and metals such as gold, silver and titanium. It is apparently much cheaper recycling these than it is to mine the equivalent quantities of ore and can be done on a much smaller scale if need be.

Ironically older phones are more likely to contain larger amounts of these materials and as such should therefore be valued higher. However since people generally expect older things to be worth less and don't actually know what happens to the phones they are willing to accept less meaning the profit for companies is much higher on older phones. I suspect that some of the newer phones with less materials and a higher street value due to being more recent technology will get resold into other markets. Of course they will get recycled at some point meaning that companies get a double or even triple dip at making a profit from a single phone.

Remember it is only going to get more expensive to mine materials as resources are depleted and what is left become the harder to mine deposits.

Cheers,

Tony.
 

LJx

Well-known Member
i am sure alot of them are re sold, they are not going to pay £100 for a nokia 5800 then strip it down, maybe for the crappy phones they pay £1 for.
found this, from US but same idea
Once they arrive at a collection facility, the phones are powered up to see if everything works. Some cosmetic work is done, personal data is removed and new software is often loaded on to prepare the phone for reuse. More than half of the phones received by recyclers can be refurbished and reused with minor repairs. Refurbished phones may be resold in the U.S. to smaller carriers or distributed as replacements for phones that break while under warranty. Refurbished phones may also be sold internationally. The phones that can't be reused are sent to smelters who reclaim the valuable materials they contain.
 
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martin10

Active Member
i am sure alot of them are re sold, they are not going to pay £100 for a nokia 5800 then strip it down, maybe for the crappy phones they pay £1 for.
found this, from US but same idea

I have heard (dont quote me on this) that there is a metal only found in laptops and mobiles called coltan. This metal is stripped from the products and sold on, at a price much higher than gold is nowadays
 

rickinyorkshire

Distinguished Member
I was thinking the exact same question last night, you see so many of these company's nowadays so they must make a profit some how. They even buy broken phones.
 

markie g

Distinguished Member
I assumed they bought them and sold them to other shops that sell second hands phones. I did use one the other week and got £180 for my nokia n96
 

Eric

Distinguished Member
I heard it was something in the batteries.

@hammadalikhan88 (before your post is removed ;)) Your not very good with rates!
 

Mr.D

Distinguished Member
I have heard (dont quote me on this) that there is a metal only found in laptops and mobiles called coltan. This metal is stripped from the products and sold on, at a price much higher than gold is nowadays

Coltan is a fairly mundane metal ore and not worth anywhere near gold. Its found in many electrical items usually in the form of tantalum capacitors.

Its not particularly exotic although it has been implicated as a casual factor in some of the African conflicts.
 

figoagogo

Distinguished Member
I did use one the other week and got £180 for my nokia n96

Really? :eek: I miss my old N95 - best phone I ever had.

I would presume most statements are correct above, some will be sold on (based on demand/condition), some will be used to get spare parts, some will be scrapped for the raw materials. At least they are doing something about it, if you think about how quickly we dispose of phones its a shocking waste of energy, materials, money etc :eek::(
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Yep, closing before there is any more confusion :)
 
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