90% of a mobile phone can be recovered and turned into new products
Like most Australians, I love my mobile phone. For many of us, they’ve become an indispensable part of our daily lives. What may surprise you though is just how many phones we get through. In the 10 years since July 2002, the Australian mobile phone industry has shipped in over 80 million mobile phones. That’s an amazing amount.
In terms of market penetration, mobile phones rule the roost. There are now 29 million mobile phone subscribers in Australia. About 9 million new handsets are shipped here every year and most people are now upgrading their phones every 12-18 months.
It’s a fantastic result for the mobile phone industry and to be sure, it’s brought great benefits to many of our lives (I for one would be lost without mine…). But to make that many phones takes up a lot of resources and the recycling rate for the phones has significant potential to go up.
Right now, there are millions of unwanted mobile phones hiding in drawers, cupboards and garages across Australia.
They’re equivalent to thousands of tonnes of metal, minerals, plastic and glass. Materials that can all easily be recycled. Indeed, up to 90% of a mobile phone can easily be recovered and turned into new products.
When you recycle one mobile phone, you may not think that you’ll achieve much, but imagine if you’re one of 10,000 people who recycle one mobile each?
For every 10,000 mobile phones that are recycled, it avoids the need to mine 26 tonnes of gold ore. It’s also 29 tonnes of silver ore that you don’t have to dig up. According to the Australian Mobiles Telecommunications Authority (AMTA), you can also recycle those 10,000 phones into 58 plastic fence posts, 17 gold rings and over 2,000 aluminium cans! The environmental benefits quickly stack up. Imagine the benefits when you recycle millions of mobiles? It can make a real difference.
That’s why Telstra has launched a push to recycle 10,000 mobile phones. For the whole of June, Telstra will give $1 to Landcare for every mobile handset handed in for recycling at Telstra stores and offices. All Telstra customers and staff can take part in the initiative.
If we can reach that figure, then a maximum of $10,000 will be donated to Landcare to carry out their important work of greening Australia. I’m going to grab some of my old phones and I hope you will too.
So on June 5, this World Environment Day, please help to reach the recycling target of 10,000 phones. By recycling your old mobile (or someone else’s!), you can help to ring in some real benefits for the environment.
For more information about the mobile phone industry’s product stewardship program MobileMuster , visit go to www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070. Mobile phones, their batteries and chargers can be recycled at all Telstra stores Australia-wide.
How the 80 million mobiles figure was calculated:
From December 2002 to October 2010, AMTA figures show that 68,543,241 mobile phones were shipped in Australia. http://www.amta.org.au/pages/Handset.shipments. At least 11.5 million mobile phones will have been shipped between November 2010 and June 1 2012. This gives a minimum total of 80 million mobile phones shipped over this period.
“How many old phones do you have lying around the house that you can recycle?”