What happens to your old mobile phones after you put them in e-waste bins

Used mobile phones are piled high and waiting to be recycled at an electronic waste collecting and sorting facility in Tuas. Let’s explore more in e waste disposal near me. Its bigger, antenna-equipped monochrome forebears, the likes of which have not been seen in years, are among the snazzier handsets. Among the tens of thousands of used mobile phones that ALBA E-waste Smart Recycling gathered were a blue Nokia 6150, introduced in 1998, and a lime green Alcatel OT 300, also released around the same time. These cell phones will be delivered to recyclers, who will disassemble them into component parts and process them for recyclable materials. CNA observed the end-of-life process of mobile phones that are disposed of in ALBA-managed e-waste bins put islandwide last month during a visit to ALBA and e-waste recycler Virogreen.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) appointed ALBA E-waste Smart Recycling as the Producer Responsibility Scheme operator for electrical and e-waste. ALBA Group, an international waste management company, is the parent company of ALBA E-waste Smart Recycling. For five years, up to June 30, 2026, ALBA, as the operator, will collect regulated e-waste for recycling. Information and communication devices like PCs, laptops, desktop monitors, and cell phones are considered to be regulated e-waste. The operator informed CNA that since the program’s inception, the quantity of mobile phones it collects has increased. ALBA collected an average of 580 kg of cell phones each month between July 2021 and June 2022. It gathered an average of 1,200kg every month over the following four months, from July to October.

With a typical phone weighing between 150 and 200g, ALBA now collects 6,000 and 8,000 phones each month. While the company has been collecting more mobile phones, ALBA public relations executive June See stated that undesired products including massagers, robotic toys, and breast pumps continue to be disposed of in the e-waste recycling bins. Mobile phone accessories may occasionally be thrown into bins as well.


Mobile phones are gathered and given to the same Tuas industrial area recycler Virogreen after being collected. According to Tommy Yeo, the director of business development, the load containing mobile phones is weighed as soon as it is received, whether it is in bags or on a pallet. Thereafter, phones are transported to a brightly lighted table in the facility’s corner, where personnel wearing gloves and safety goggles manually disassemble them. The mainboard, also referred to as the printed circuit board, the battery, the plastic cover, and other components are divided up into distinct boxes. Virogreen often waits until each part reaches a particular weight before sending it to downstream recyclers because only a small amount of each item can be extracted from each phone.

Precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum can be removed from the mainboard during processing, along with more accessible metals like copper, tin, and zinc. The touchscreen can be made of glass or plastic, while the battery is made of cadmium, iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, and aluminium. These resources can be used to create new products after being harvested. The ten percent of a mobile phone that cannot be recycled will be burned in an incinerator.


According to the way they are made, one phone may be disassembled in five to ten minutes, according to Mr. Yeo, who gave CNA a tour of the factory. Even while this might seem like a brief period of time, the numbers increase with each bag delivered. Every month, Virogreen receives 500kg, or about 2,500 phones, in mobile devices. This indicates that up to 417 man-hours could be required to disassemble a month’s worth of phones, assuming that it takes a maximum of 10 minutes to disassemble one phone.

Dioxins, mercury, and lead are just a few of the dangerous materials found in electronics that can seriously impact your health. If electronics aren’t disposed of properly, they’ll end up in a landfill where they’ll slowly start to emit harmful materials into the air, soil, and groundwater. We hope that all the information in e waste disposal near me was helpful for our readers.