Research by shows 95% of families in the UK own at least one mobile phone, and that UK consumers upgrade their phones on average every 24 months. So what happens to all those now unloved digital handsets?

The Bits and Pieces Drawer

Every household has one. The odds-and-sods drawer. The drawer where old biros, used batteries and empty refillable lighters are thrown. The drawer that contains broken watches, assorted screws and nails, small pliers and screwdrivers and, in the 21st century, discarded and broken mobile phones. But why hoard these old digital devices, when in many cases, they could make you more than a little extra cash?

Privacy is a Secret

One of the biggest concerns that prevent consumers contacting recycling businesses to get rid of their old handsets, is the fear of their personal details being harvested. It’s the same reason so many people hold on to their old tablets, laptop and desktop computers or hard drives. Those ‘for your eyes only’ selfies, taken on bawdy stag and hen nights out, can be a worry. But the risk of passwords, pin numbers and other financial and personal information getting into the wrong hands can be worse.

Unless you are a digital nerd, wiping your phone clean can seem a daunting task, but it shouldn’t. There are hundreds of tutorials on the net that take you step by step, through removing your personal details and resetting your phone, whether an iPhone or Android. Furthermore, most phone comparison sites like Sell My Mobile, will tell you that you will get the best price for phones that have been unlocked, wiped clean, and reset to manufacturer specifications.

So what’s it Worth

That depends very much on the model and condition of the handset. If you have a top of the range Apple, Samsung, Oppo, Huawei, OnePlus, LG, Sony, or HTC in as-new condition, you could be better off to the tune of several hundreds of pounds. Even if you have a couple of broken mobiles, or those past their use-by date, by passing them on to a recycling company, you will still be doing your bit to save the planet. To find the best price for your mobile phone, take a little time, and check out several different comparison sites.

So what’s this got to do with Lowland Gorillas?

There are estimated to be over seven-billion mobile phones in use worldwide. It is further estimated that each mobile phone user has at least two obsolete handsets, gathering dust in the infamous odd-and-sods drawer. That’s an awful lot of old handsets lying around.

Besides plastic, each phone can contain elements of phosphorus, arsenic, boron, cobalt, antimony, and indium. Wiring and other electrical components in the handset can contain copper, lithium, aluminium, lead, nickel, gold, silver, and rare earth elements. The vast majority of these precious metals and minerals, are mined in countries on the African continent.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, home of the lowland gorilla, is one such country. It has vast reserves of tin, copper, Coltan, cobalt, gold, and diamonds. Because of increasing demand for these metals and minerals by the digital device manufacturers, much of the habitat of the gorilla has been devastated by both legal, and illegal, mining. These activities have pushed the animal to the verge of extinction, with an estimated four thousand left in the wild.

Returning these billions of mobile phones, and other digital devices, for recycling, would provide manufacturers massive stores of these metals and minerals for reuse, and help ease the need for increased mining activity.