Discarded Electronics Are Literal Gold Mines

If you have seen any dystopian film or have read any piece at all of dystopian literature, you would know that a landscape made of metal offers intense horrors that bank on some of the deep-seated fears of today’s society.

Realistically speaking, we have been inventing ways to address the problem of metal such as recycling laptop batteries into a source of alternative energy or something as strangely innovative as making stylish backpacks out of car parts, but there is a need to push further. A trio of researchers recently took a shot at that and conducted a study which tries to answer how profitable it is to recover metals from old electronics.

In 2016 alone, the world discarded 44.7 million metric tons of unusable or simply unwanted electronics, according to the United Nations’ 2017 Global E-Waste Monitor report. That’s 4,500 Eiffel Towers-worth of phones, laptops, microwaves, and TVs. Only 20 percent of this e-waste was properly recycled that year. The rest was likely either incinerated, pumping pollution into the atmosphere, or added to a landfill somewhere, with its toxins now leaking into our soil and water supply.

It turns out, urban mining costs much less than traditional mining. The researchers from Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Sydney’s Macquarie University published their results in a scientific journal after collecting data from recycling companies in China. While the cost of recycling might vary from country to country, China’s status as the world’s biggest producer of e-waste makes light of the truth that the practice of urban mining could have a big impact on both economic and environmental matters.

[W]e already knew electronics contain precious metals in addition to all that glass and plastic. While a single smartphone might not contain all that much, consumers buy about 1.7 billion of the devices each year. In just one million of those, you’ll find roughly 75 pounds of gold, 35,000 pounds of copper, and 772 pounds of silver.

Necessary reminder though: this is no reason at all to justify our technological consumption practices. If anything, it should make us ask more conscientiously, what do I do with my smartphone once I find a new replacement that has great upgrades and loads informative online articles (like this!) much faster?

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Too Many Apps? Cluttered Phone Screen? Here’s What to Do.

I am a firm believer of the “messy desk, messy head” mantra. In my regular working schedule, I always make sure to set a 10 to 15-minute break to put those sticky notes back where they belong, throw out random scribbles from when I tried to conjure ideas for my next article, file those printouts that I forgot about yesterday, create a clearing for my laptop in the middle of the table (thereby clearing my head as well), etc etc. Everything has to be in place so that I myself can be in place and finally write.

And in my everyday life, I bring the mantra not just to work but everywhere. My fridge and kitchen cupboard are extremely organized. And you know who else isn’t exempted from my powers? Shelly.

Shelly, my phone. (It’s a play on both the second syllable of my first name Rachel and the first syllable of the word cellphone. So –chel, cell-, Shelly. Get it? No? Fine,the name’s lame.) Took me long enough before I got tired of swiping and swiping as I ultimately try to find the app I need. Eyes hurting, I even become dizzy at times. Finally, I realized, there has to be some way to save time from gazing at an endless pool of apps and icons before I can do what I need to do.

And I’m sure it’s not just me. You probably needed to open your chat messages for an important bestie update, only to get lost for more seconds than necessary. And honestly, how many of us have a phone screen that truly serves some eyesore? Well, not mine anymore. So here are some tips to get rid of that clutter.

1. Delete what you don’t need.

Sure, you need your fond memories of that cutesy kitten game even though you no longer have time to actually play it. And sure, there’s the cupcake game, too. And who knows? You and Bry might just break up soon (even though you’ve been going strong for months now), so you don’t want to delete any of your three dating apps yet. Three! Question is: do you really want to be an app hoarder?

Ever since I found out and wrote about the Swedish concept of lagom eons ago — fine, just a few weeks ago — I tried integrating ideas of moderation and necessity with my lifestyle. It has worked so well so far. Even with my phone screen. So evaluate your apps. Think about the ones you truly and regularly need. Get rid of those you don’t. Again, don’t be an app hoarder. Chances are, even if you change your mind, you can just download it again sometime. But right now, what you need is peace of mind. And eyes. Your eyes need peace.

2. Folders, folders, folders.

If you have an active technological lifestyle, and your preoccupations really have bits to do with your phone, at least have the energy to file your apps into neat folders. Create categories that are relevant to you. For example, bundle your cooking and food-related apps together. Make a separate folder for your news apps. Make another for your social media accounts. And if you really can’t get rid of the kittens and cupcakes, just make sure they are where they need to be.

3. Download the BeepBeep Nation App.

These days, there is an app for everything. You need a ride? Get this app. You need to find a place to stay next weekend? Download this one. You need reviews of restaurants? Download another. And while it has been very convenient for us to get the services we need in the span of some taps, things might just get a bit more convenient.

The BeepBeep Nation App provides an easy way for people to get help and give help. And in different ways too, which makes it extremely efficient. Known as “The Mother of All Apps,” it covers many categories of your daily problems such as finding a ride and a place to stay, reading restaurant reviews, getting accurate information, and even receiving first aid in medical emergencies.

And while it’s amazing that one app covers all that and you now have reason to declutter your phone screen, what’s even more amazing is that you can get help for free. Visit the BeepBeep Nation website to find out more. In the meantime, go put your organizing fingers on, start deleting and categorizing on your phone screen, and finally address that eyesore.

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Can You Build The World’s Best New Phone App?

“There’s an app for that,” must be the expression of the century — after all, it’s true. You can spy on your partner, keep track of the places you’ve taken a dump, and seek cuddle buddies. Some apps demonstrate explosive popularity but only remain on the hot list for weeks, if not days (looking at you, Pokemon Go). So how exactly do you craft the next best phone app and remain trending?

Think about what people want. What is everyone’s latest obsession? Which apps have endured the test of time? Games such as Candy Crush maintain a steady amount of users and rake in a lot of credit. Consider how and why. You’ll soon figure that the answer is simple. Anyone can play it. Its features are addicting. It’s free but also tricks you into spending an occasional buck for that extra life. Here is where market research may come in handy.

But before getting your hands dirty, consider your audience. Do you want to build an app that caters primarily to millennials? Or do you want a few Gen X heads to turn? Making an “app for everyone” may seem like the way to go, but it isn’t always the easiest.

When brainstorming, play to your strengths. Sure, you can make an app for pretty much anything. But why not create something you are already well-versed in? After all, a physical therapist working on an app for 15-minute exercises does make a lot of sense.

Once you’ve established a general sense of what your app is going to be, it’s time for the nitty gritty. Give your app multiple functions. But focus, of course, is important. You can’t throw together a photo editing app that also allows you to order a pizza. Figure out what makes the most sense and deliver real value.

An app that can do a lot of things may seem the way to go, but not with a complex design. Make your app user-friendly. Windows loyalists may often tease Mac users for being technological dummies. But the truth of the matter is, Mac will almost always remain on top for the simple fact that it is easy to use.

A seamless beginning doesn’t always make for smooth-sailing in the long run. Keep track of bugs and when the going gets tough, communicate with your users. Just because something seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean that it is. Take customer feedback seriously. What might make sense to you may be someone else’s worst nightmare. Troubleshoot with grace, like a virtual ballerina.

Most importantly, stay current. In order to remain relevant, keep up with the times. Upgrade your app to suit prevailing trends. Mermaid hair and rompers for men may eventually go out of style, but you don’t have to. Adjust to change, even when it means taking risks. Nothing ever comes easy to those who play it safe.

App-making is treacherous business, even for experienced entrepreneurs. But with consistent batting practice, any smartphone user could hit a home run.

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