• Report: 23 million old mobile phones awaiting recycling in Australia

    By Christiane Reher

    There are 23 million phones that could be recycled in Australia according to a report from not-for-profit recycler MobileMuster and the number is still increasing as Australians tend to keep their old phones even though they have a new phone.

    The report believes the main time for Australians to buy a new phone is during the summer season sale or Christmas time.

    “There are now 30 million mobile phone service subscriptions in Australia and anywhere between 130,000 to 190,000 new mobile phones being imported on average into the country each week”, said the Recycling Manager at mobile Muster, Rose Read.

    The main reason for keeping the old phone is the security of having a back up phone in case the new one is broken. Moreover some Australian customers plan to give their old phone to someone else or they keep it even though it is broken.

    MobileMuster puts it down to a lack of knowledge of recycling in Australia, with 90 percent of the old phones components, especially the accessories, able to be recycled for other electronic devices.

    “When you look at the environmental impact of mobile phone recycling in Australia in the last 15 years, it is the equivalent of planting nearly 50,000 trees, taking 2,300 cars off the road and avoiding over 8,000 tonnes in CO2 greenhouse gases”, said Read.

    During the recycle process the phone will be fragmented into batteries, plastics, circuits and accessories. Out of it arises plastics and precious metals. From these resources can be made stainless steel, plastic fence post and batteries.

    MobileMuster gets support from phone companies such as Nokia, Vodafone, Samsung, Optus and Testra. They managed to increase the recycling rate for example for materials recovered up to 96%.
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