China is a major exporter, manufacturer and user of mobile phones. in 2020 it manufactured 1.47 billion smartphones. China also produces between 300-500 millions of used phones each year but only the estimated 5.2 percent have been enrolled in pathways to recovery. Furthermore the circular resource supply chain isn’t completely matched. There aren’t any large-scale supportive marketplaces for resources that are renewable therefore it is difficult for companies to locate traceable, high-quality and sustainable materials in China.
Mobile phones that have been discarded typically go to various companies and are then either sold or recycled. In certain cases their components, parts and other materials are reused however only a tiny percentage are actually treated by certified firms.
Based on the China Association of Circular Economy the life expectancy of the mobile phone will be 3.62 years within China this is less than the estimated five years for similar products as reported within the EU Circular Electronics Initiative.
Facilitating the development of financial innovations
Mobile phones with circular designs have dramatically brought awareness to the flow of metals and plastics. One of the major facilitators of this is the financial sector’s innovation. The key players in the finance ecosystem will play an crucial roles in advancing this circular economic model. Innovative financial products such as bonds or loans, funds, carbon markets and equity are powerful tools to make green initiatives viable for financing. Although the recent increase in financing is encouraging much more capital will be required for the development of the circular economy.
Governments have committed funds for the development of low-carbon infrastructure to show their commitment and give assurance to private sector and investors. Some of the highlights include CO2 emission reduction facility ( CERF) which is a low-funding program provided by the central bank for a price of 1.75 percent through commercial banks to invest in low-carbon infrastructure projects.
To ensure that the facility is specific and directly in support of a low-carbon transition The People’s Bank of China requires financial institutions to provide information about the carbon emission reduction loans, as well as the amount of reductions in emissions facilitated by the lending. To date, there are 21 Chinese financial institutions as well as two foreign institutions have actively participating in it. These instruments of finance will serve the ability to reduce risk.
Another option is long-term investment in industrial clusters that are zero carbon in which many of the producers are situated. In the case of China, China Development Bank has made an investment in the amount of RMB 4.547 billion, which will construct China’s first base for circular utilization of resources – Xuzhou Circular Economy Industrial Park (phase 1) as part of the zero waste city pilot national program.
The process of attracting investments to aid in a metals and plastics change from linear to circular might be benefited by learning from other transformations in the industry, particularly renewable energy in the energy industry. The Global Plastic Action Partnership has released a set of case studies on how this is taking place in the world of plastics.
Additionally, the way to transfer the green benefits is crucial for opening up opportunities in the financial sector. Governments should utilize the existing instruments of finance, like sustainability bonds to generate and develop better infrastructure to support circular solutions.
A circular, producer-oriented supply chain
With how circular the mobile phone supply chain, it’s important to get manufacturers to collaborate with suppliers of raw materials components suppliers, as well as third-party institutions to develop sustainable material certification standards and methods. Industries must develop a suitable white-list of security disposal businesses that are based in the concept of credit to ensure the secure disposal of mobile phone data and to strengthen the management system for workers who are involved in the process.
The Global Battery Alliance mobilize resources to ensure a sustainable , sustainable value chain for battery products through the creation of action partnerships in the areas of manufacturing processing, sourcing manufacturing, and recycling. Particularly, the passports for battery provide reliable information about indicators, which will result in a high-quality seal, which records authenticated documents of the responsible sourcing recycling, and management of batteries throughout their whole life cycle.
In order to move towards with circular mobile phones, it’s crucial to establish the environmental testing and analysis laboratory that is based on RoHS standards. This is monitored internally after the certification. For instance, Huawei has been updating its list of banned chemical substances and has set up an environment lab to conduct thorough and professional tests of chemicals to be used in the manufacture of products.
A multi-stakeholder recycling strategy
It is crucial to stress the extended producer responsibility (EPR) and establish the target of regulating recycling for dealers and producers based on producers taking on responsibilities in the areas of economic as well as environmental aspects. Establish certification standards to ensure that enterprises are able to meet the standards and environmental requirements to dispose of mobile phones, which makes it simpler for them to cooperate with recycling companies and other recyclers.
We must encourage both organizations and individuals to monitor their second-hand and recycling transactions and create an incentive and punishment system to encourage the development of recycling mobile phones as well as secure disposal. Also, establish an information disclosure program to enhance the accuracy of information, and enable consumers to monitor and track the recycling process for the mobile phone they own.
The lifespan of phones
Manufacturers can improve the durability and scalability of their products through the use of more durable components and also provide maintenance and upgrade services that can not only guarantee the longer life span for mobile devices, but help drive a shift towards environmentally friendly consumption.
Enhancing communication and education
Communications and education initiatives can be targeted to consumers as well as players within the supply chain. For consumers, the education process should extend beyond awareness-raising efforts and include advocacy for green consumption as well as a sustainable lifestyles. Other stakeholders’ activities include training for managers and policy disclosure, information disclosure as well as norms and standards, and collaborations, technical training promotion and direction.