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How Much Plastic Is In Your Phone

  • August 18, 2021
  • 4 min read
How Much Plastic Is In Your Phone

While we are all against single-use plastics, it made us wonder if there is a place for plastic in the smartphone era. Let’s have a look.

Plastic in Phones: A Brief History

Smartphones have gained features such as wireless charging and Power Share over time, which has required manufacturers to use more signal transmitting materials such as glass, resulting in a delicate piece of hardware. Smartphones suddenly become a premium item, with all of these smart functions sandwiched between glass pieces. Who are we, exactly? Compare and Recycle is the UK’s leading phone recycling comparison site. It’s critical to recycle your old equipment as soon as you upgrade in order to get the maximum money for your old phone.

Plastic phones have gradually become less common in the flagship class as manufacturers strive for a more premium finish. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was panned by review sites due to its pimpled plastic back, and the company’s head of design left in shame. The Galaxy S6 Edge, which was exceedingly glassy, came next, paving the path for the current glass smartphone.

Why is Plastic Used in Phones?

Smartphone producers, like any other business, are constantly looking for new materials to cut production costs. Polycarbonate is the most common plastic build material for cell phone repair, and it is a wonderful way for original equipment makers to save money. Different types of plastics can be blended together to make interior components, and protective coatings can be put on plastics for external housing parts to achieve a different look and feel.

Are Phones Made of Plastic Good or Bad?

We’ve laid down the advantages and disadvantages of plastic phone housing.



Polycarbonate is a sustainable material since it is totally recyclable and reusable at the end of its life cycle. Polycarbonate recycling entails sorting, shredding, washing, and grinding the material into granules that can be reused.

Manufacturing costs

Depending on how expensive it is for a manufacturer to construct a smartphone, that cost will be reflected in the price paid by the end customer. The less intricate the construction material is, the easier it is for the ones who manufacture it to deal with it and create parts, lowering costs.


Plastic isn’t indestructible, but it can take a lot more abuse than glass before breaking. If you drop a glass phone on a hard surface, it is very likely to shatter, but a phone with a plastic finish will be alright.

Design autonomy

Plastic can be molded into a variety of shapes and painted in a variety of colors, allowing designers to realize even the most bizarre ideas. Remember vintage Nokia phones? We’ve seen the colourful finishes that plastic phones can offer. Furthermore, cell phones with plastic backs are lighter and easier to carry in one’s palm.

Signal transmission

When making a phone, it’s crucial to consider signal transmission, and unlike other metals, plastic as a build material still allows radio waves to pass through without producing reception problems.


Feels low-cost

We all have the perception that plastic things are and feel cheap, which is true in certain cases, but not always. Bad plastics were utilised as a final material for the Galaxy S III, but that was almost ten years ago. Smartphones with plastic back panels, such as the Galaxy S20 FE or the OnePlus Nord, have completely evolved. They will not, however, have the same quality feel as phones constructed of glass.

Not as strong

Many videos have shown that if the phone’s frame is made of plastic, it would fail the bend test.

Not biodegradable.

Smartphones, like other plastic products, do not biodegrade naturally, and if they end up in a landfill, they will remain there for decades, damaging the environment, as opposed to metal bodies, which rust and disintegrate.

Wear-and-tear prone

Because plastic isn’t as scratch-resistant as glass, for example, plastic finishes can be disappointing if you’re not careful, but who doesn’t put a case on it from the start.


As you can see, the advantages appear to vastly outnumber the disadvantages. When utilized in the center of the frame, for example, it can substantially compromise the phone’s structural integrity, but when used in back panel components, it provides low-cost, damage-resistant protection to the internal elements. The plastic in the gadget itself will be reused if it is appropriately recycled.

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