Mobile phone is indeed one of the smaller electronic devices we use in day to day life; but it has created sizable challenge to the environment. With the increase in mobile penetration and tempting technologies that force existing phone users to change their handset before its end-of-life, the number of mobile phone sold around the world per year is exploding. If we talk of India, 657 mobile devices were launched in India in 2011 alone. If you take it on the global ground, the figure would be really very high.
The research has shown that the footprint of creating a mobile phone may be small, but the cumulative effect is quite significant on a global scale. Mobile phones are made from a range of substances that are harmful, if the devices are not disposed properly. Metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium - used in manufacturing mobile phones cause adverse effect to the environment. These substances can cause cancer and other disorders in humans. They have a devastating impact, if they are released into the environment.
Keeping corporate responsibility to environment, the major manufacturers such as Motorola, LG, Sony Ericsson and Philips, have implemented eco-design aspects into their production lines. They are now making devices with substances that are less hazardous. Nokia has decided not to make products with substances that come under EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). The RoHS Directive bans six substances (lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PDBE) from products that are either made or sold in the EU.
Another EU law, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive is being rolled out across the 25-nation bloc to reduce the environment impact of mobile phones.
Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KETI) - carbon labeling certification for electronics was established in February 2009 to protect the Earth. It certified SamsungGalaxy Tab 10.1 last August for not emitting much carbon to the environment. Recently, Samsung Galaxy Note received an eco-friendly carbon labeling certification in Korea by the KETI. Samsung Galaxy Note doesn’t use any anti-environmental chemical materials like Halogen flame retardant, beryllium, PVC. The carbon labeling scheme is a system to check greenhouse gas emissions of a product in the whole process from development to production and distribution, usage to disposal. After getting such certification for Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung said that they would continue to comply with environment-friendly policies and will continue to develop low-carbon, eco-friendly products.
To make our Earth a better place to live, each country should restrict selling of products that are not compliant with RoHS. Selling of non eco-friendly mobile phones should not be allowed. Each country should fabricate a carbon labeling certification for electronic devices, like KETI in Korea.