New research by Mobile Muster suggests that there are millions of old phones gathering dust in Aussie homes. Furthermore their work suggests people are holding on to phones for years. 23 million unwanted mobile phones are laying in drawers and cupboards around the country. Almost five million of these will be beyond repair. Similarly the research reveals that 45% of Australians intend to recycle their old smartphone. Most noteworthy only 10% actually deliver on that intention.
According to Mobile Muster, in 2018, the government’s accredited mobile phone recycling programme collected 90 tonnes of mobile phone and accessories, including, chargers and smart watches. Hence this represents only a small portion of ‘hoarded’ e-scrap.
Low motivation to recycle mobile phones
Sadly the motivation to recycle old and used smartphones is low. Many Australians retain them for use by friends or family and continue an emotional attachment to them. There is a general reluctance to seek out and drop them off for recycling as it is too inconvenient.
“It’s clear that phones are not ending up in our general waste stream; they’re ending up in our homes”, says Mobile Muster manager Spyro Kalos. “But the value comes from recovering those resources, and so reducing the need to mine virgin materials”.
Certainly the great thing about recycling old smart phones is the ability to recycle 99% of the resources used to create them.
In an effort to stimulate ‘drop offs’ of old phones and to boost awareness, MobileMuster has partnered with not for profit charity partner, Take 3 for the Sea. As a result the proceeds of recycled phones collected in January and February will be used to support the charity’s work to reduce plastic pollution in the sea.