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September 19, 2008

Making recycling easy

MALAYSIA – If all of the 3 billion people in the world who own a mobile phone, recycled just one used device, it would have the same effect as taking 4 million cars off the road.

That’s according to Nokia Malaysia’s Nellie Abdullah who’s Nokia’s local environmental coordinator. She was talking to ZDNet writer Lee Min Keong at the launch of a new recycling initiative being trilled out there, using Kiosks to collect the phones.

The kiosks also double up as service centres, in that people can leave their device for a service, or for recycling (don’t want to get that one mixed up!) The trial is taking place in three locations in Malaysia and will run for six months. The whole thing is designed to make it easier for people to recycle

Now, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade here but there’s a fundamental problem with this concept (in my view). I don’t know how to solve it, but I’m pretty sure it exists. The kiosks are in three different, public, locations. The people’s phones are at home. Where’s the incentive for me to pick up my phone and take it there? I don’t see it. Sure, it’ll help the environment, but it’ll only have a big impact if my fellow sharers of the Globe join in the fun.

I reckon if I could solve that problem I’d be as rich as the guy who comes up with the cure for world hunger. Or at least as noble.

Any ideas to share?