The Times follows up this story with a guide to options for properly disposing of you own phone. Read that here.
GameStop, a video game retailer that buys and sells used electronics and games, said it held a trade-in event last weekend. In three days, it accepted more than 15,000 devices. The items that were traded in the most included the more recent iPhones, like the 5, 5S and 5C, the company said.
EcoATM, a company that buys used cellphones through a network of kiosks, said that since the release of the iPhone on Friday, it had seen an 80 percent increase in iPhone trade-ins at its 1,100 kiosks in the United States. It declined to say how many devices it accepted over all.
Gazelle, a reseller that allows people to mail in their used electronics for cash back or credit on Amazon, said it was making 180 offers a minute in the week leading up to the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on Friday. The iPhone 5 accounted for 38 percent of the devices being traded in ahead of the release. Gazelle also noted that in the week Apple introduced the latest iPhones, the number of trade-ins of Samsung products tripled compared with the week before.
Many older devices are not traded in at all. A study by OnePoll, a research company, found that about 54 percent of American consumers say they own two or more unused cellphones. The study estimates that Americans own about $34 billion worth of used cellphones.
Interesting account of discarding an old computer, by an Economist columnist. Here’s how it starts:
LIKE many others, Babbage is reluctant to throw out old computers, monitors, keyboards, printers, phones and other digital paraphernalia. Where possible, he guts them of useful parts, and leaves the carcasses in a cupboard in case other bits and pieces may one day also come in handy. For instance, the last computer he built, Bitza-7, was assembled almost exclusively from salvaged components (see “Say farewell to XP”, September 6th 2013). Recently, though, he decided a clear-out was overdue, and hauled the accumulated e-waste off to the local toxic dump.
Putting anything containing even a printed circuit board in the rubbish bin for municipal collection is out of the question. Not counting all the other nasty materials used in electronic products, the lead in the soldered joints alone requires such items to be treated as toxic waste. At least, that is the case in California.
Babbage’s nearest recycling centre is no backstreet scrapyard, belching fumes from makeshift incinerators and open baths of bubbling acid—like several he has seen in the third world. Open to the public several days a week, the toxic dump in question is part of the University of California, Los Angeles, set up to handle waste from the institution’s medical centre and numerous laboratories. Visitors are greeted by staff in hazmat overalls and rubber gloves, who carefully sort the offerings into different bins. The overall impression is that the waste is in safe hands.