When pursuing end-of-life planning for IT devices, businesses face unique challenges with mobile phones. For one, they contain lithium ion batteries which could present serious risks in landfills, including fires and explosions. For another, mobile phones are among the devices replaced most frequently, so businesses must think ahead about how they’ll be handled when they inevitably need to be replaced. Fortunately, this also presents an opportunity for companies to support a circular economy for mobile phones. Curious about how your business can take advantage of our services for mobile phone circularity?
What is circularity in mobile phones?
Smartphone sales continue to rise each year, fueling the production of new devices. As with many other types of technology, manufacturing smartphones contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Smartphones also require the use of rare earth minerals, nonrenewable resources that could be depleted within the next century if we continue at this pace.
It’s not just their production that has an environmental impact, however. At the end of their life, mobile phones also contribute to e-waste, a growing global issue. In 2019 alone, there were 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste generated across the globe. Businesses have an obligation to ensure their smartphones don’t wind up in landfills. They also have an opportunity to contribute to a circular economy by giving smartphones a second life through reuse whenever possible, instead of jumping directly to recycling.
When is the right time to plan cell phones’ end of life?
When new technology becomes available, businesses often need to leverage it to keep pace with competitors. The expansion of 5G networks, for example, will likely have many businesses purchasing new phones to provide employees with devices that accommodate the new technology. Another major driver for new phones has been the post-Covid transition to remote or hybrid work arrangements.
Ultimately, each business must assess its needs to determine the best time for upgrading their phones. No matter what that timeline looks like, end-of-life planning should begin in advance. That way, old phones won’t wind up in storage or in employees’ desk drawers and become too outdated for reuse.
Why a second life instead of recycling?
According to conservative estimates, $57 billion of high-value materials used in electronics wound up in landfills in 2019 instead of being collected for reuse. Yet, the reusable raw materials from a $1,000 phone could be worth as little as $1 after factoring the time and effort required for extraction. Until there’s a more efficient way to recycle materials used in mobile phones at mass scale, maximizing the value of end-of-life smartphones lies in reusing them for their original purpose.
Late-generation phones can be wiped clean and resold at a more accessible price point than a brand-new model. This creates circularity in mobile phones, ensuring they see additional use before they become too outdated and are no longer supported by the manufacturer with operating software or by mobile carriers, at which point they ultimately do need to be recycled.
Ensuring data security for end-of-life mobile devices
Quantum’s approach to mobile devices is secure, efficient, and the most financially beneficial way for your business to get rid of end-of-life cell phones. We’re fully certified and ensure the proper handling of your company’s devices by maintaining a closed-loop, secure chain of custody from start to finish. We hold NAID AAA certification, which represents the highest level of data destruction certification available.
To further support the utmost level of data security, Quantum also performs background checks on all employees. We equip all of our vehicles with satellite tracking devices so your assets are always trackable after they leave your facility. Once we’ve received them, you can track their status through our convenient portal to see which process they’re undergoing until you receive confirmation of data destruction. Through our erasure services, we guarantee the data in your retired mobile device is safely handled and securely destroyed.
How it Works
When you’re ready to get rid of your business’s old cell phones, contact Quantum to arrange a pickup. We accept late-model mobile phones in good condition for refurbishment. Small, medium, and enterprise clients can benefit from our device buyback programs, in which you can turn your old mobile phones into a revenue stream or offer employee credits for refurbished devices.
Once we’ve erased the data from your devices, we refurbish, repair, and resell your old phones through our established network. Our team specializes in handling large volumes and maximizing the value of your equipment so you can turn your unwanted assets into the greatest possible financial return.
If you’re ready to get rid of your business’s unwanted cell phones, find out more about how we can help secure the best ROI for your end-of-life mobile devices while ensuring complete data erasure and compliance with environmental regulations.