Recycling your old mobile phone

Green-Eyed Monster Blog did a great post yesterday about recycling your old mobile phone. She mentions the places in Europe where you can recycle your phone so I thought I would do a New Zealand equivalent. According to Telecom the estimated total number of mobile phones in New Zealand is 3.8 million! That’s crazy considering we only have a population of 4.4 million. With so many mobiles out there and people buying new ones all the time; Telecom says people replace their mobiles every 18 months. That’s A LOT of waste.
Please DON’T EVER THROW YOUR MOBILE IN THE BIN OR IN THE LANDFILL. Mobile phones are full of heavy toxic metals; such as cadmium, lead, beryllium and antimony. So if thrown in the landfill they degrade and release all these heavy metals into the soil and groundwater.
So what can you do with your old phone? You can sell it on trade me or give it to a family member or friend. I think my last three phones have been sold or given away and are still being used today. Reusing is the best thing you can do but the next best thing is recycling.
All the phone companies in New Zealand have drop off bins in store for you to drop off your old mobiles and chargers, Telecom also take old land lines and modems. I’m actually not a Telecom customer but I am very impressed with their 100% landfill-free Recycling Policy. What is even better you can donate your old phone to Starship hospital. All working phones are refurnished and exported to Hong Kong, China or to Eastern Europe, while those beyond repair are recycled. These phones help the hospital to help sick children so a very worthwhile cause I say. You can either pick up a postage paid envelope from any branch of ASB Bank, Barfoot and Thompson, Telecom, The Warehouse or Warehouse stationary or Vodafone. Or you can simply write their address on an envelope and pop it in the mail. When posting the phone please remember to remove the battery and wrap this separately.
If you are buying a new mobile you could consider the company’s environmental impact. Greenpeace has a great guide that tells you which companies are the most environmentally friendly so from now on I will be buying a Nokia or Sony Ericsson. Good work guys.
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