There's ever such a slight problem with this insistence from Greenpeace:
“Recycling isn’t the solution to the problem, but it is an essential step. In the future, companies need to reshape their business model to move towards a circular economy. They should make profit from good recycling, recovering materials and producing long-lasting batteries. Consumers need to make their demands heard.”
That being that recycling mobile phones isn't a profitable activity meaning that it would be very difficult indeed to make a profit by recycling mobile phones.
As an example, we are told that:A 2015 report on recycling e-waste noted that people tend to maintain old phones in their desk drawers but recycling lithium ion batteries could be a lucrative revenue stream for phone companies. It estimated cell phones would be worth €25 (£21) per kilo if recycled, with smart phones not far behind at €19 (£16) per kilo.
That's this report. Their method of calculation is, well, once we have recycled phones back into their component parts then those component elements would be worth £16 per kg.
What they don't even begin to think about is, well, what's the cost of recycling phones back into their component elements? Quite, that's like looking at a mountain and stating that it's worth billions. Without including the idea that it will take tens of billions to mine it.
Further, what Greenpeace is resolutely not talking about is that it costs money to collect items into piles that you can then apply a recycling process to.
At which point we really do need to become rather economic fundamentalist on their backsides. We have a system for working out whether it is worth doing something, recycling something. It's called the price system. If something costs more to do than the value of the output then this is not saving resources, this is wasting them. And, yes, collecting then recycling phones costs more than the metals extracted are worth. Which is why no one does do it as a profitable activity.
There are people who will accept phones that other people have collected, yes. But that's not taking into account a rather large part of the costs, is it?