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สมาร์ทโฟนที่ไม่ได้ใช้ในโลกรวมตัวกันมีน้ำหนักวาฬสีน้ำเงินมากกว่า 138 ตัว

If you open that drawer or shelf of yours right now, you’re more than likely to find an old smartphone (or two) collecting dust.

You put it away in haste as you excitedly receive a new phone, in your pursuit of staying ‘trendy’ when it comes to technology.

But of course, you’re probably not the only one that has amassed a collection of old, unused smartphones over the years.

In a 27-country survey conducted by German used electronics store reBuy, stats show most people don’t get rid of their old smartphones.

The numbers are particularly worrying in Sweden, where there’s an average of 1.31 unused mobile phones per capita, which effectively outnumbers the Scandinavian country’s entire population.

And when you add up all the unused smartphones in the 27 countries surveyed, the weight of precious metals found in these dusty devices amounts to 23,964 tons of e-waste. That’s more than 54 Boeing 747-8 airplanes at full capacity put together. If you need more context, it’s also more than the collective weight of 138 blue whales.

Though leaving old smartphones to collect dust may seem fine, it actually worsens the tech industry’s impact on the environment.

With no way of reclaiming all these precious metals from discarded smartphones, tech giants are forced to source for new deposits. This basically throws the act of recycling straight out of the window.

According to the reBuy survey, when combining the value of all shelved devices in the 27 countries, the amount exceeds US$2.2 billion in precious metals including gold, silver, palladium, platinum, and copper.

The metal harvested from our old smartphones could be used to make new ones, lessening the damage inflicted on the environment in the process. At the same time, the world’s natural resources could be preserved for longer, making sure they’re only used when absolutely necessary.

When it comes to the amount of people gifting used or refurbished smartphones, Denmark leads the way at an average of 49 percent.

It can be easy to fall for the hype of new smartphones. After all, we live in a society that places emphasis on having the latest technology. But in terms of smartphones, we’ve kind of reached a peak in advancement, for now at least.

This means that even a one or two-year-old smartphone can perform just as well as the latest release.

An average of 49 percent of Danish households prefer to gift old or refurbished smartphones to people, which is great! Trailing Denmark are France and Poland, both at 41 percent.

“Both Black Friday and Christmas are coming up, which has in the past decade proven to result in enormous sales of items such as new smartphones, e-readers, tablets, and games consoles,” says reBuy CEO Philipp Gattner.

But Gattner hopes the survey will serve as an educational reminder about the value-for-money aspect and environmental consciousness of buying used smartphones.

“With this index, we want to educate people about e-waste and help everyone to consider buying refurbished tech products to give technology a second-life,” Gattner said.

Do you have any old smartphones collecting dust?

Read more smartphone stories:

Apple’s iPhone 12 studio lets you mix and match iPhone colors and accessories

Photographer proves you don’t need expensive equipment to take stunning photos

Motorola changes Razr shipping to prevent phones from showing up with fingerprints

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Cover image sourced from Finder.

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