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Strong together for our environment: Thales Germany employees donate 265 old cell phones to Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e. V.

This brought together 265 private cell phones, which the teams from Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) and Communications Dr. Angela Meder for Berggorilla & Regenwald Direkthilfe e. V. could pass. The mining of raw materials required for cell phone production also takes place in the regions inhabited by mountain gorillas and thus directly threatens their habitat. The initiative has set itself the goal of conserving the gorillas and their habitat, which includes reforestation projects, support for research projects, local nature conservation organizations and their educational work, as well as the provision of equipment for rangers. The projects start exactly where the degradation of these resources pollutes or even destroys the environment.
Used mobile phones make an important contribution here, on the one hand, by reducing the further breakdown of raw materials and, on the other hand, the income from old devices - either through re-use or the proceeds from recycling valuable raw materials - flows directly into the projects.


In addition, there were a further 96 business cell phones which, for security reasons, do not have to be donated, but rather made unusable by a certified company. But these can now also be professionally recycled. With the total of 361 old devices, the following quantities of raw materials can now be returned to the circular economy and so on:

  • Copper: 6 kg
  • Cobalt: 1.2 kg
  • Aluminum: 1.2 kg
  • Nickel: 0.8 kg
  • Tin: 0.41 kg

other metals & rare earths: 0.4 kg of which for example 0.07 kg silver and 0.01 kg gold.

Recycling as an active contribution to environmental protection
Did you know that many times as much ore has to be mined for the primary production of these raw materials? For example, the proportion of gold in an average smartphone is only 0.024%. For this, however, between 16 and 900 kg of ore must be mined - depending on the gold content of the ore.

By recycling these metals and rare earths such as yttrium, large amounts of energy and the associated CO2 can be saved. Recycling copper only accounts for around 20% of the energy required for primary production of this raw material. In addition, considerable amounts of water and chemicals are saved, which means that the overall environmental impact can be significantly reduced. This is fully in line with the Low Carbon Strategy to which Thales is committed.

Professional recycling also offers the following advantages:

  • Reduction of the export of electronic waste to emerging and developing countries and the associated damage to the health of the local population and the local environment
  • Obtaining recyclable raw materials
  • Reduction of environmental pollution in emerging and developing countries that arise from the mining of precious metals on site
  • Avoiding the use of "conflict minerals" such as cassiterite, columbite-tantalite, wolframite or even gold through their recycling. (Cell phones contain many so-called conflict minerals, which are mined in politically troubled regions and whose profits flow, for example, into financing weapons.)
  • Reduction of pollution through incorrect disposal.
  • Overall, our campaign for the European Sustainability Week was a great success and we will consistently pursue this approach.

We would like to thank all of our colleagues who have supported this important topic and our joint campaign!