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Recycling E-waste? Will the Internet Triumph Over?Street Vendors?

Recycling E-waste? Will the Internet Triumph Over?Street Vendors?

Almost one and a half years ago, I still had a Samsung mobile phone in hand, later I bought a Millet note after I carelessly dropped the Samsung into the water. It was not long before I changed Huawei, for I gave the Millet note to my cousin as he wanted. Several days ago, I was unexpectedly won an Apple 6s during an raffle activity held by our company. With this newest mobile phone, I suddenly found that my speed of replacing the mobile phone almost caught up with the changing seasons. I know that a lot of young fashion lovers like frequently changing their mobile phones, but I didn’t think I changed my mobile phone out of pursuing the newest brand.

However, it contained a great crisis – the staggering e-waste disaster. According to the data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the P.R.C., about 200 million waste mobile phones are produced every year in China. In addition, China’s four big household electrical appliances (TV sets, refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines) and computers are discarded more than 100 million units annually, which not only causes a major waste of resources, but seriously threatens the environment. Aimed at this commercial opportunity, some business giants begin to enter the electronic recycling field. Jingdong first invested in aihuishou.com (a Chinese recycling website) a few months ago, specially for O2O door-to-door recycling of old cell phones. The day before last week, Baidu Recycle 2.0 was launched to help users to recycle their household electronic wastes.

The electronic wastes quietly staying at home

“Electronic waste? No, we don’t have.” Mr. Zhao denied directly when being asked by the reporter whether he had electronic wastes at home. However, reminded by the reporter, Mr. Zhao found out, in the storage room, a set of computer mainframe and monitor abandoned four years ago, six obsolete mobile phones and two mp3 players, etc.
According to the statistics, although about 200 million mobile phones were eliminated each year, currently the recovery rate is only 1%. Based on the predictive analysis of the mobile phone industry, it indicated that, in 2014, about 50% domestic users replaced their mobile phones for every 18 months, 20% within 1 year, and the rate of replacement time above two years has fallen to 30%.

According to the reporter’s interviews, many people were not willing to throw their unwanted computers or mobile phones, they kept them at home instead. Also some people directly sold their used mobiles phones to the garbage vendors in the neighborhood. From the above survey, we can see that quite a lot of people lacked awareness of E-waste. Slightly different from mobile phones, people are used to sell the waste electrical appliance to the street vendors.

10 old computers can make a gold ring

Electronic wastes are not real wastes, but with hidden gold. According to statistics, in the old computers, CPU and memory chips contain gold components. A used computer can produce 0.2 gram of gold, that is to say, the recycled gold from ten old computers can make a gold ring. Then, 300 grams of gold can be extracted from 1 ton old computers, and the amount of gold extracted from waste computers has already exceeded the quantity of gold mining. In the mobile phone motherboard, it also contains copper, gold, silver, palladium and other precious metals with recovery value, averagely, it contains 14g copper, 0.19g silver, 0.03g gold and 0.01g palladium in 100g mobile phone body.

Just because of the valuable components in the electronic wastes, a lot of small vendors swarmed into the recycling market and made environmental pollution become much more serious. It’s reported that, in those personal recycling stations, people use very extensive method for the processing of electronic waste. They directly use “three acid (nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid) or burning under high temperature to extract precious metals, but the two approaches will lead to serious leakage of heavy metals, causing great harm to the environment.

Environmental experts said that if burning the waste mobile phones with other household garbage, the plastic shells of some mobile phones could produce toxic substances and even carcinogens. Circuit boards and shells of mobile phone have bromine-containing flame retardants, and the harmful gas produced can cause damage to human body, arousing thyroid disorders, endocrine disorders, as well as nerve and immune system problems.

Is O2O a good method to struggle with the E-waste disaster?

Today, the Internet giants are trying to enter the field of e-waste recycling with the development of O2O. Jingdong first invested in aihuishou.com (a Chinese O2O recycling website), then, Baidu also launched a Recycle App by uniting Intel, Lenovo and some dismantlers such as TCL-Aobo to realize door-to-door collection of E-waste in 72 hours. Meanwhile, previously, alibaba also launched its Second-hand Recycling Channel for the recovery of electronic wastes. But, can those business giants triumph over the small firms and vendors in this E-waste recycling battle? Let’s wait and see.

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