Instead of hoarding your old mobile phone or, worse, trashing it, there are an increasing number of attractive recycling options. It may seem like too much trouble, but Charlotte Reid finds out why we should start taking the idea seriously.
Recent figures from mobile phone comparison site sellmymobile.com indicate that Brits recycled £2.63m worth of mobile phones last month. This means a total of 41,009 mobile phones were recycled. And in breaking news, a Blue & Green Tomorrow reader has exchanged an old BlackBerry for £92. The truth is out there.
Despite the statistics above, many are not reaping the benefits of phone recycling. Research from mobile phone operator O2 revealed that Britons are losing £762m a year when they decide not to recycle their old mobile phones and other gadgets.
Amazingly, one in three adults throw their gadgets away, which equates to 17 million devices each year. Add to that number an estimated 60-90 million phones gathering dust in people’s homes and the potential for recycling is clearly huge.
And if freeing up extra cash is not incentive enough, consider the increasingly precious metals, such as copper, silver and gold, locked up within the components of mobile phones that can be recycled, reducing the burden on already scarce resources. The materials are then melted down and sold to jewellers or manufacturers to be reused in new electronic products.
Still functioning handsets can also be sent to developing countries; while it may appear redundant in your life, once refurbished it makes a cheap phone for those in developing nations.
Where should you go?
There are a number of places that can recycle mobile phones – all with different reward schemes.
Most major supermarkets offer pre-paid envelopes that customers can use to send mobile phones for recycling. In return, the supermarket will make a charitable donation. Tesco offers green clubcard points as an alternative.
Boots offers advantage points and a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support. You can also go directly to the charities themselves. Oxfam and the British Red Cross both give money for handsets but also receive a donation.
Alternatively, if you just want money for your phone, then there are a number of companies available, including the Royal Mail.
The German post office has also recently adopted a similar scheme into its business plan announcing that it will collect mobile phones, printer cartridges and other small electrical items. It is part of a project called Electroreturn, which hopes to recycle 83 million phones in one year.
Whichever phone recycling scheme you use, you’ll be doing something beneficial for the planet, a charity or, potentially, your wallet.
There are many ways of making the future of the planet sustainable. Blue & Green Tomorrow recommends changing your shopping habits and being more considerate towards the environment. We say taking a look at the Ethical Superstore.