Assignment 3: Part 2: Pinterest Board

Pinterest Board link:

Description of Board: This board is about generation of e-waste specifically cell phone e-waste. An entire pathway of generation of cellular e-waste is described including causes that contribute to it and solutions that may be helpful towards an increasing global problem of e-waste.

1. Root of cellular e-waste generation-Obsolescence

As the title of the pin suggests obsolescence becomes main cause of generation of e-waste. In order to establish a relationship between obsolescence and e-waste, this article describes how cell phone companies like Apple release new models of iPhones almost each year indirectly forcing customers to buy another whether a new one is required or not. Apple and such companies may also use phenomenon of planned obsolescence where new phones are sought due to a non-functioning old phone. Sometimes, all such changes also require other purchases like new case, protectors etc.

2. Environmental impact of cell phones

This graphic summarizes environmental impact of cell phones. With an increasing number of cell phone being used by people all over the world a lot of energy gets consumed. An important consequence is that the data networks release gallons of gas because they are dependent on energy, polluting the surrounding air. Also, charging cell phones contributes to energy/electricity wastage. And when cell phones are thrown, huge piles of their e-waste are created and precious metals like Gold and Silver are wasted. An important realization is that through recycling energy can be saved and be used to power about 270000 homes.

3. One of the most common ways used to deal with cellular e-waste

This pin openly talks about one of the most common ways of dealing with e-waste generated from cell phones. When people no longer need their cell phones they are collected and thrown as an enormous mass to second and third world countries like India, Ghana, China. U.S alone produces about 3 million tons per year. Due to dumping, it is becoming a problem to deal with piles of cell phones that are only creating landfills and health problems. In order to deal more efficiently with the problem of e-waste, other methods need to be taken into account.

4. Another method to deal with cell phone e-waste

The article provides a beneficial way of dealing with unwanted cell phones i.e., recycling. There are two ways recycling can be accomplished. Firstly, a less efficient form of recycling called industrial process is used to extract raw materials needed to make new phones and functioning parts are removed for reuse. This is somewhat less efficient because it involves emission of harmful gases. However, recycling via trade is second and more effective way to recycle cell phones where old phones are sold or exchanged. Overall, both types of recycling prove better means of handling old phones rather than dumping.

5. Benefit of recycling

Purpose of this pin is to highlight importance of recycling as it relates to quantity of metals present in cell phones. It is due to recycling that new materials required for industrial synthesis of cell phones need to be mined. It may not be surprising to see amount and cost of various metals like Gold, Silver, Platinum, Copper and such. However, total amount of metals in about 500 million cell phones (number sold in 2005) collectively becomes appreciable. Such an enormous quantity is reusable when these metals can be used for making new phones which is only possible through recycling.

6. Consequences of cell phone e-waste on health

From a health point of view, cell phones contain metals, as described earlier, required for their proper functioning. However, metals like Mercury, Cadmium, Lead are harmful for human body and may cause Cancer when released in higher amounts in environment. Also, cell phone may be dumped near water causing these metals to leak into the water and as a result not only affect water but also sea life. It is due to these health consequences that cell phone companies now use less damaging and hazardous substances in their phones in an effort to address related health issues.

7. Google’s upcoming project to introduce a new type of environment friendly cell phone

This pin provides with one of the techniques that can be used to overcome increasing problem of cellular e-waste. Phonebloks and Google Project Ara are the pioneers of an amazing innovation of a DIY (Do it yourself) cell phone. It is a concept revolving around creating user’s own phone by manipulating it’s features. It is initiated so that the problem of e-waste can be controlled in future and the idea behind the project is that this new phone consisting of replaceable blocks maybe modulated anytime wanted. As a result, people will not continue to buy phones for new attractive features.

8. A solution lies in establishing mines to deal with cell phone e-waste

Open pit mines are another proposed solution for dealing with enormous amounts of cellular e-waste. Not only it will allow to accommodate large volumes of e-waste but mining will provide with an opportunity to extract metals which can then be used for other devices. Another advantage would also include less e-waste dumping in other countries like China, India and Pakistan. Although critics of this proposal state mining being an environmental hazard due to pollution, benefits outweigh issues related to it.

9. Ways to use an old cell phone- Part of a solution

A simple way to counteract the problem of cell phone waste is to reuse old cellular device. Old phone can be used as a nursery monitor which may require extra features to go along with the phone. Also, by deleting all data from cell phones, they can be used as children’s gaming device. Smart remote is another option where a mobile phone can be connected to TV and be used as remotes. Similarly, they can be used as media players. With simple manipulations cell phones can be turned into personalized devices that may be used for performing separate tasks.


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