Do you have a few unused mobile phones gathering dust in your house somewhere? You're not alone: it is estimated that Australians are holding onto more than 23 million unused phones. All of these products contain valuable materials that could be returned to the supply chain via recycling. Here are seven expert tips for getting rid of unwanted e-waste in ways that will help the planet.
Today is World Environment Day, a global United Nations' intuitive to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. This is as good an excuse as any to pull your finger out and dispose of all that mobile junk in your house, be it old phones, busted laptops or disused gadgets.
Below are seven tips from recycling guru Spyro Kalos, chief manager of not-for-profit mobile recycling organisation Mobile Muster. Mobile Muster aims to keep old mobiles and accessories out of landfill and ensure they are recycled safely, securely and ethically. Here are his tips:
#1 Do a clean up
"Before you recycle anything, its best to do a clean up around your home, business and garage to ensure you’ve collected all the items that you want to recycle, like old mobiles, chargers, batteries and other electronic gadgets"
#2 Save and delete your data
"Consider what data you might have on your old mobile and make sure you save it and delete it from the device before dropping it off for recycling. (If you can’t remove the data then be rest assured any data left on a mobile recycled with MobileMuster will be destroyed as the phones are physically dismantled and processed for material recovery, and nothing is sold for reuse.)"
#3 Ask a friend to help you
"If you struggle to recycle items due to sentimental reasons, ask a family member or friend to be with you to help you decide if you really need to keep that old mobile anymore."
#4 Re-use what you can
"If items are in good working condition then consider giving it to someone who will use it. TuShare is a great online platform to re-home working items, or you could take it to your local Salvos."
#5 Think before you buy
"Before you buy, ask yourself, will the retailer or manufacturer take it back and recycle it for me for free when I no longer need it? Will my local council recycle it? If not, are you prepared to pay for it to be recycled properly? There are many recycling options for electronics and batteries. Some are free and some cost.
"It’s important to ensure you dispose of your electronics and batteries responsibly so they are recycled properly and won’t harm the environment or people’s health. In the case of MobileMuster the mobile industry promises to keep old mobiles out of landfill, all we ask is you recycle them with us."
#6 Avoid the bin
"Never put any electronic items, such as old mobile phones, cables and their batteries in the waste or recycling bin. These can contain elements that can harm our environment and waterways if they end up in landfill or contaminate other recyclable items. Importantly, all of these items can be recycled, put back into the supply stream and made into something new."
#7 If you have an e-waste mountain
"If you have lots of old electronics, you can simply and easily recycle them by going to your local Storage King and purchase an e-waste recycling box for the price of a cup of coffee. All you need to do is put the items into the box and drop it back to Storage King who, with the help of Ecoactiv and MobileMuster, ensure they are recycled properly and kept out of landfill."
MobileMuster is the only not-for-profit government accredited mobile phone recycling program in Australia and is funded solely by mobile phone industry’s members Microsoft, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Huawei, ZTE, Force Technology, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile.
Spyro Kalos is the recycling manager of not-for-profit mobile recycling organisation Mobile Muster.