The Changing World of Investing in Old Cellphones

According to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, a million cellphones contain about 75 pounds of gold, 33 pounds of palladium . . . and 770 pounds of silver. That might seem like a lot of precious metal to you, or it might seem like a small amount when you consider that you have to recycle a million phones to access it. But here’s another statistic that makes it seem like it might not be that difficult to get your hands on a million phones:

Worldwide, about 4 million cellphones go out of service every year. People discard them, turn them in, or stick them in their dresser drawers for no particular reason.

Okay, those are some facts that pertain to today. But what will happen tomorrow that could change the likelihood of profitably getting your hands on the precious metals that cellphones contain?

Trend One: People Are Keeping their Phones for Shorter Periods of Time

According to some estimates, 20 months is now the average amount of time that a phone remains in service. Why are people changing phones? The biggest reason is that they want new features.

Trend Two: Growing Numbers of Users Trade in Phones when they Upgrade

We can’t find any statistics to document this trend, but if you have upgraded a phone in the last year or two at one of the major service provider’s stores, you have noticed that they are offering bigger incentives for recycling your old phone. The result is that it is becoming more difficult for precious metal investors to get their hands on tossed phones. 

Trend Three: Users of Android Devices Keep their Phones Longer than Users of iPhones Do

This trend was uncovered by the Pew Research Foundation. We don’t know why this is the case, but we suspect that Apple’s efforts to build buzz around the release of every new iPhone might have something to do with it.

Trend Four: The Quantity of Precious Metal in Every Phone Could Be Dropping

If you pull apart a five-year-old Blackberry and a new iPhone and compare the electronics they contain, you will notice that there seems to be more gold in the Blackberry. That’s hardly a surprise, right? We live in a time when the overall trend is toward making electronics smaller, not larger. In a similar development, the size of the electronic circuit boards and other components that are found in computers is shrinking. If you pull apart a modern laptop and examine what is inside, you will see that the jumbo motherboards that were once the heart of every computer have become as extinct as dinosaurs.

Trend Five: Phones Continue to Take on More and More Functions

They have already begun to function as personal organizers, cameras, GPS devices, music players, calculators, exercise trackers, mini-computers, and much more. Where will it end? We don’t know. But in the coming years, it could well be that if you want to recycle electronics, the only “game in town” will be used cellphones.

Trend Six: Opportunities to Find and Recycle Phones are Diminishing

The sum of the trends I write about today is that now is the time to collect and recycle old cellphones. In fact, the next few years could be your last opportunity to do so.

Have Old Phones to Recycle?

Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to learn more about making money today by recycling cellphones.

Related Posts:

There’s Gold (and Silver and Other Valuable Stuff) in iPhones
Is it Worth Recycling Smartphones
New Applications for Precious Metals Keep Demand and Prices High
How to Pick the Best Precious Metals Recycling Company