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Got an old mobile phone lying around? Recycle it for free
Mon, 14th Oct 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

If you've got an old mobile phone lying around that you know you'll probably never use again, now's the time to recycle it for free.

Today marks the second annual E-Waste Day, which is the perfect day to highlight that even old phones shouldn't end up in the bin and landfill, where they could leach hazardous chemicals into the earth and cause fires.

Did you know mobile phones contain components and things such as gold and silver that can be taken out and reused? Some of those materials were even used to make medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

RE:MOBILE is New Zealand's only accredited mobile phone recycling scheme. It's encouraging Kiwis to recycle their unwanted mobiles for the sake of the environment – and raise money for Sustainable Coastlines in the process.

Mobile phones can be recycled with RE:MOBILE by dropping them off to one of the 400 collection locations around the country, including any 2degrees, Spark, Vodafone or Noel Leeming store. They can also be posted to the RE:MOBILE freepost address.

New Zealand produces around 98,000 tonnes of e-waste every year. Globally, people generated an estimated 50 million tonnes of e-waste.

“Mobile phones are one of the most frequently upgraded electronics,” says New Zealand Telecommunications Forum CEO Geoff Thorn.

“Sixty-nine percent of New Zealand households have at least one unconnected mobile phone. This means there are over 1.2 million unconnected mobile phones in New Zealand that people have stashed away in their homes, potentially because they're not sure what to do with them.

“The best way to dispose of them is to recycle them with RE:MOBILE. When mobile phones are recycled with RE:MOBILE they are either refurbished and on-sold to extend the life of the phone, or recycled for parts, with over 95% of the materials in the mobile phone being reused,” says Thorn.

One of the reasons people may not be so keen to get rid of old mobiles is because the amount of personal information and data on them, such as photos and logins. RE:MOBILE says that it makes sure it removes all data before phones before they are refurbished.

“Every smartphone that is recycled with RE:MOBILE is wiped using Mobicode software to ensure all personal information is destroyed. However, for people's own peace of mind, we encourage them to perform a factory reset on their phones before they recycle them,” says Thorn.

RE:MOBILE says it has recycled over 470,000 mobile phones since 2014.