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Does recycling my old phone really help the environment?

Sometimes recycling can feel discouraging. Often seen is a person standing in front of a recycling bin with multiple deposit slots, confused as to where to place their coffee cup, with little confidence that it will get recycled should they place their cup in the correct bin. We’ve all seen this person- at one time or another, most of us have been this person!

Even if the average consumer is confident enough that their item will be recycled after placing it into the correct bin, how confident is the average person that recycling their item has a tangible impact on the environment? Consumer confidence in recycling is unfortunately, generally low.

Today, we’re going to look at e-waste recycling specifically. Does recycling my old cell phone really have a positive impact on the environment? Let’s find out.


Your old cell phone contains metals such as titanium, iron, aluminum, copper, and other materials such as plastic and glass, which can all be reused in the creation of new products when the device is recycled properly. Your old device also contains toxic metals, such as lead, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) when not properly disposed of. We can confidently say that disposing your old cell phone in the garbage harms the environment. But what can we say about the positive impact of disposing your old cell phone in an electronics recycling bin?

By placing your old cell phone into an Electrobac for it to be recycled, you single-handedly are deterring approximately 11lbs of greenhouse gas emissions. You are also allowing the recycler to recover approximately 91g of useful metals that can be reused in the creation of new products. 

By placing your old device into an Electrobac, you are also allowing the potential for re-use of the device, should it be salvageable. Reusing old devices is the absolute best way to protect the environment- recycling is the secondary solution. It is estimated that over 70% of a cell phone’s emissions actually come from the production process, due to the vast amount of both materials and energy required to create a single mobile phone. This fact is something to consider when purchasing your next mobile phone! Buying used makes a difference.

Okay, so maybe now you’re thinking- Sounds great, but so what? What does 11lbs of greenhouse gas emissions mean? Is that good?


It’s very impactful. Recycling just two mobile devices into an Electrobac deters approximately 22lbs of GHG emissions, which is the equivalent of saving one mature tree, or recycling 33 plastic water bottles. It’s very good and certainly impactful.

If your old, broken or unused device is sitting around in a drawer at home or at the office, why not recycle it into an Electrobac? What is option two? Option two probably looks something like the following: The device sits in your drawer for a couple of years. Eventually you will find yourself cleaning and getting rid of old junk, and in the midst of clearing out old unused items, that device will most likely end up in the garbage because you won’t have a convenient option of disposal. Sound familiar? It is better to be proactive to ensure that the unused cell phone is recycled appropriately, for the betterment of our planet.

For any questions regarding cell phone recycling, or to learn more about e-waste recycling in general, feel free to reach out to us at or 1-833-780-8044. To find the nearest Electrobac recycling smartbin to you, please visit our website at And don’t forget- the Electrobac smartbin accepts over 100 varieties of electronic waste- not just cell phones!


Happy recycling everyone!