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Question:

Your task is to write a report .You are part of a company’s engineering group asked to design a new cellular phone that is essentially disposable – that is, the expected useable life span is 12-18 months.

Answer :

Designing a disposable cell phone

With high usage of mobile phones, people these days prefer smart phones that keep them connected to their family, friends and colleagues 24x7. But quite a few instances come when we need a simple phone just to text or call. For example, if you are on a short trip to a different country then you are always apprehensive about the security of your expensive smart phone. In that case, you can take along a cheap yet functional disposable phone that you can throw away once used. Disposable phone is also a good alternative for your landline or as a second phone for your business purposes. With all these benefits of disposable phone in mind, our company has decided to create a useful phone with short usage limit, for the convenience of occasional users as well as for travellers (Arp.net.au, 2016).

Before designing this kind of phone we would like to analyse the ethics of this approach and how this kind of phone is much easier to design in Canada than in other underdeveloped countries. Moreover, we will assess the Life Cycle of the phone to evaluate the overall impact of this activity on the environment (Arp.net.au, 2016).

Ethics of the approach of designing disposable phone

Although disposable phones have short life span, these devices are designed using the same natural resources as the regular phones. However, these phones involve less production cost. If we analyse the ethics of designing a disposable phone, we must ensure that users do not trash their phones as this will harm the environment. Like US policy, we should also warn the users to recycle their phones rather than throwing them (DailyTekk, 2013). We are going to design the disposable phone in such a way that people can get it topped with talk time only for 12-18 months and after that the phone life cycle will be finished. However, we would like the users to submit these phones to our collection department so that we can recycle the devices to create new phones. Even the phone accessories and battery will be recycled to get some useful material for future production (DailyTekk, 2013). From our end, we ensure that all devices must be formatted and personal data of the users is erased before recycling. In this way, we ensure user’s safety.

Difference between designing phone for Canada and for an underdeveloped country

Canada is a developed country with relatively low population than USA and UK. Disposable phones are viable in Canada because due to less population that number of phone disposed off is also very low hence environmentally this option is extremely beneficial. Moreover, with effective recycling processes, Canadian mobile companies can recycle the devices according to the norms. Whereas in underdeveloped countries, recycling process is not very effectual hence in every 12-18 months, if people trash the cell phones, there will be great negative impact on the environment (Mobile Phone Lifecycles Use, Take-back, Reuse and Recycle, 2016). Another difference between Canada and underdeveloped countries, when disposable phones are concerned, is the affordability. Disposable phones come with reasonable talk time plans, which are cost-effective for the users of underdeveloped countries. In Canada, users use disposable phones as their second alternative that increases the production of cell devices in the country (Mobile Phone Lifecycles Use, Take-back, Reuse and Recycle, 2016).

Environmental impact

Fabrication stage:

Our new disposable phone will be fabricated using very less amount of hazardous elements. However, as we suggest, we would recycle the devices so that the harmful materials like nickel, cadmium and mercury would not buried in the landfill (INFORM_The_Secret_Life_of_Cell_Phones, 2016).

Operation stage:

This stage is from the user’s point of view. With our disposable phones, we would provide an operation manual so that users can use the device ethically, keeping in mind the dangerous impact of mobile radiations and batteries on environment (INFORM_The_Secret_Life_of_Cell_Phones, 2016).

Disposal stage:

At this stage we would recommend our users to submit the disposed off devices at our collection department so that we can recycle them. Trashing the devices is not at all advised as harmful material like cadmium, nickel and mercury get buried in the soil and reaches to water bed, making water and soil contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Though lithium batteries do not pose direct environmental hazard, if the battery reside mixes with water, the metallic substance can catch fire underground, which is difficult to stop (Ethicalconsumer.org, 2013). Even cadmium is a carcinogenic material that can harm animals and humans, if ingested. Landfills get largely contaminated with yearly disposal of mobile phones. Hence we recommend all our users to take social responsibility and keep help us to keep the environment safe (Ethicalconsumer.org, 2013).

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