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It's time to get serious about upcycling e-waste

Lifestyle | by Denise Timmis | Jun 24, 2022

It's time to get serious about upcycling e-waste

It's time to get serious about upcycling e-waste

Did you know that 55 million unused mobiles gather dust in drawers and cupboards across the UK? It’s true. We're on the road to becoming the most significant contributor to levels of e-waste over the next three years, and that's a problem. Especially when many handsets end up in landfills, pushing toxic electronic waste into the soil and carbon emissions into our atmosphere.

But there's a solution. Moving the dial from discarding gadgets to upcycling them can help bring positive change to the planet. This page highlights our electronic waste problem and the benefits of upcycling unused devices.

Why upcycle?

Upcycling is reusing unwanted objects or devices instead of throwing them away. But why upcycle your old phone, laptop or tablet?

The stats:

  • The UN reports the planet is filled with 50 million tonnes of electrical waste every year. That's the equivalent of over 250 billion new iPhone 12s!
  • Only 20% of e-waste is appropriately recycled. The rest is left to contaminate our soil and atmosphere.
  • Electronics often contain raw materials like gold, platinum, cobalt, and lithium. In most cases, these are lost forever in landfills.
  • 80% of a smartphone's carbon footprint is produced during manufacturing. By upcycling, you're removing the bulk of your phone's carbon footprint in one go.

The benefits of trading in your tech:

  • Trading your old phone or tablet means an extra bit of cash in your pocket. To give you an example, you could receive up to £90 when you sell your old iPhone 8
  • Upcycling and trading in your tech prevents phones from going to landfill. At Envirofone, we wipe, clean and refurbish devices so they can be used again and again.
  • Refurbished devices are a great alternative to buying brand new, especially if you’re looking to save a bit of cash, or buying a phone for teenagers or students.
  • Upcycling tech for new purposes or trading it in so it can be refurbished means slowing down the demand for new phones and releases.


What are the benefits of upcycling batteries from our devices?

Upcycling phones and tech reduces the number of toxic materials dumped in landfills. Cobalt, nickel, manganese, and other metals found in smartphone batteries can easily leak from buried battery casings and contaminate soil and groundwater, endangering ecosystems and human health.

  • It is predicted that in 2023–2025, the demand for lithium will be greater than the mining supply.
  • Lithium-ion battery recycling reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions, saves natural resources, avoids virgin material mining and imports, reduces environmental toxicity, creates an economic gain, reduces waste, and makes safety issues manageable.
  • The majority of the world's cobalt comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where over 40,000 children are exploited in the mining process, classifying cobalt from the DRC as a "conflict resource."

Upcycling used and second-hand tech with Envirofone.

Ahead of National Upcycling Day, we're calling on you to upcycle your used devices with us. We reuse every product we receive—in most cases, they're sold as refurbished tech through our dedicated site. And if we can't sell your tech or it's beyond repair, we’ll send it to one of our e-waste recycling plants. Our plants use technology to recover raw materials like lithium and cobalt, reducing CO2 emissions, conserving natural resources, and decreasing waste.

How to sell your tech


Selling your old tech with Envirofone couldn’t be easier.


  1. Go to our Sell site and search for your device
  2. See how much your device is worth. We accept broken and damaged devices, but you will receive slightly less for these than you would for a phone in good condition
  3. Request an Envirofone pack and a free returns label for your device. Package up for device and send it to us via your nearest Post Office
  4. Once we receive your device and our tech team have tested it, we’ll process your payment on the same day

If you have an old electronic device you don't need, why not upcycle with Envirofone and help save the planet? By selling your refurbished goods to us, you also earn cash that can go towards your next upgrade. Win, win!



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