Thursday, 15 November 2018 10:34

Efforts to recycle old mobile phones continue apace Featured

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Australia’s national Mobile Muster mobile phone recycling program has recycled 90 tonnes of mobiles and accessories, and the country’s second largest telco Optus says it has already contributed more than four tonnes, or 53,437 handsets and batteries, in 2018.

Mobile Muster is a not-for-profit program, voluntarily funded by most handset manufactures and all network carriers in Australia, with an aim to keep old mobiles out of landfill and to recycle them in a safe, secure and ethical way.

And Optus — which has supported Mobile Muster since 1998 — cites figures from an independent online survey conducted in January and February 2018 by IPSOS on behalf of AMTA, estimating that there are more than 23 million unused mobile phones in homes around Australia.

In addition, of these 23 million, five million are broken and no longer working, while one in two Australians are keeping an old phone “just in case”.

To mark the Planet Ark National Recycling Week, which runs from 12 to 18 November, Optus says it is committed to managing not just the company’s own environmental footprint but across the supply chain and aims to raise awareness of sustainability as part of the week.

“Optus is continually working to deeply embed sustainability into our culture by encouraging our people to make a positive contribution to their local community and environment,” Optus vice-president of Sustainability, Andrew Buay, said.

“It is a long-term commitment that evolves for the company. Optus has supported Mobile Muster since 1998, while more recently introducing a retail bag developed from renewable paper which is 100% recyclable and biodegradable.

Through the Mobile Muster program, Optus estimates it has saved 10 tonnes of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere and conserved 50 tonnes of mineral resources.

According to the telco, its recycling effort has had the environmental benefit equivalent to planting 259 trees, “something Optus Sport host Mel McLaughlin is proud to champion”.

“There are more than 23 million unwanted mobile phones across Australia, which is the equivalent of 2200 tonnes of metal, minerals, plastics and glass and 95% can be recycled,” McLaughlin said.

“I believe it is an easy contribution we can all make by simply taking our old phones and accessories into an Optus store, so they don’t end up as landfill.”

Optus hosts collection points for old mobile phones, battery or accessories (including battery chargers) in all retail stores and inserts reply paid recycling satchels into Optus pre-paid mobile bundles. The recycling service is free, allowing customers to post back their old mobiles for recycling.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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