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July 8, 2008

Old Nokias ripe for eco harvesting

INTERNATIONAL – Platinum. Gold. Copper. Turns out your old Nokia is an eco treasure trove plum for plundering. In fact, recycling your retired handset could mean more saxophones, kettles and dental fillings (not so great) for all of us, without having to bother Mother Earth for yet more raw materials. That is if we all get stuck in, and start recycling our old phones. See, Nokia has today published a global consumer survey on recycling, having interviewed 6,500 people in 13 countries, and the results are pretty eye-opening with only 3% of us recycling our redundant mobiles.

The survey uncovered that the majority of us (44%) simply keep our old devices lying in drawers at home. A quarter of people are giving their old phones to friends or family, with another 16% selling them, and only 4% chucking them away. The reason for this lack of recycling impetus? Well, globally, half the people don’t know you can recycle your old phones, and of those that did know around two thirds did not know how or where to do it.

Nokia’s Director of Environmental Affairs, Markus Terho, highlighted this aspect of the survey and the significant eco benefits that could become a reality with more awareness and action:

“Many people are simply unaware that these old and unused mobiles lying around in drawers can be recycled or how to do this. Nokia is working hard to make it easier, providing more information and expanding our global take-back programs… If each of the three billion people globally owning mobiles brought back just one unused device we could save 240,000 tonnes of raw materials and reduce greenhouse gases to the same effect as taking 4 million cars off the road. By working together, small individual actions could add up to make a big difference.”

He went on to explain:

“Using the best recycling technology nothing is wasted. Between 65 – 80 per cent of a Nokia device can be recycled. Plastics that can’t be recycled are burnt to provide energy for the recycling process, and other materials are ground up into chips and used as construction materials or for building roads. In this way nothing has to go to landfill.”

Sure, the biggest challenge is actually getting people to recycle their old devices. But I guess, as well as shock methods such as this survey, most awareness and inspiration comes from us telling our friends and family about it, and actually leading by example. No doubt it takes a little effort, but the benefits are massive with a collective effort. Nokia has over 5,000 recycle points worldwide spawned as a result of its recently launched We Recycle initiative. If you want to find out where your nearest drop-off point is visit

What do you reckon to recycling your old phones. Would you? Are you planning to? Let us know what you think by posting in the comments section below.