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US phone recycling industry ‘poised for growth’

United States – Revenues for the US mobile phone recycling industry will see a notable increase until at least 2019, says a new report from IBISWorld. The sector will be supported by an upturn in mobile phone ownership and new technologies, both of which have created a thriving replacement market and thus a larger base of phones available for recycling.

Approximately 150 million mobile phones are discarded each year in the USA, according to IBISWorld. Up to 35 000 pounds of copper and 772 pounds of silver can be recovered per 1 million devices recycled, alongside ′marginal′ gold and palladium extraction.

Rising commodity prices have enabled cell phone recyclers to expand their operations and hire more workers, in turn increasing the industry′s wage rates rapidly.  ′More phones have been used as raw inputs for precious metal extraction or as viable inputs for resellers,′ says Sarah Kahn, industry analyst at IBISWorld. ′Beyond favourable demand for commodities, regulations have also benefited industry operators, mainly at state levels.′

She cites the mandatory collection and ′proper disposal′ system enforced a decade ago in the US states of California and Maine as leading examples. ′As collection of cell phones for recycling and reuse becomes easier, the industry is poised to exhibit growth as a result of a widening base of key inputs,′ Kahn asserts.


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