The United Nations is working toward a world agreement on the scrapping of metal-intensive mobile phones that could impact the cost of making them.
The U.N., the scrap industry and mobile phone makers and operators, such as Nokia and Vodafone, are working together as part of the U.N. Basel Convention on the control and disposal of waste.
It could expand agreements already in place in Europe, North America and Japan in the lead up to a key conference in Africa next year.
The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), a Brussels-based body whose members include Australia's Sims Group Ltd, the world's largest recycling company, and Germany's Verein Deutscher Metall-Handler EV (VDM), said a comprehensive worldwide framework is needed to collect, process and dispose of such waste.
"In practical terms we hope that any projects set up become sustainable and that these become established routes for bringing electronic waste back into recycling and recovery," the BIR's environment and technical director Ross Bartley told Reuters from Brussels.
The EU already has in place a system for disposal whereby phone makers bear the brunt of the cost. Neither the U.N. nor the scrap industry would provide figures for the costs that might result from the wider agreement.
Mobile phones contain valuable metals such as platinum, gold, copper, aluminum and magnesium as well as plastics.
An increased number of discarded home appliances are disguised as ordinary household waste and traded internationally to extract rare metals and expensive components from them, according to industry figures.
The remaining parts are often dumped illegally.
"Those (disposal) routes have to be properly established and maintained," Bartley said.
"Without them people will keep storing mobile phones at home feeling that they might be worth something before belatedly releasing them into the waste stream."... (Continued Here) Source