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January 6, 2009

Recyling kicks off in India

INDIA – We wrote previously about Nokia’s recycling survey conducted last year, and Charlie picked up on it again with his Best of 2008 piece over the holidays. Now Nokia India has taken up the baton and launched an initiative to drive awareness of recycling old handsets across the country. 1300 Nokia care centres and priority dealers are being equipped with recycling bins to take back old devices, regardless of who made them, before being taken away to be disposed of properly.

When the recycling survey was done, India came bottom of the list with poor awareness amongst users that devices could, and should, be recycled. Only 17 per cent of those surveyed in India knew about device recycling.

To aid the task of driving awareness, Nokia India will be planting a tree for every device recycled. There’ll also be a host of gifts on offer to further entice consumers to get involved.

In some ways the lack of awareness doesn’t surprise me. Whilst it’s at best average in developed countries, in developing ones I’d expect recycling to be a bit further down the list when it comes to things people think about.

For my money though, this still isn’t tackling the inherent problem with encouraging people to recycle their old devices. Sure, raising awareness is a good thing, and facilitating the process is a more than welcome move. But, and it’s a big BUT, how do we actually get people to change their mindsets when it comes to recycling electronic devices?

I wrote previously of how I personally was guilty of hoarding old devices in cupboards. Even since writing about it (and in the process becoming utterly aware) all I’ve – ashamedly – managed to do is gather up those devices I definitely no longer need and get them ready to take them somewhere. But where?

Could I just walk into any phone store and drop them there? Does it even need to be a phone store? Could it be any electronics retailer? Perhaps it should. Regardless, the devices are still languishing in a cupboard, only now they’re gathered together in a bag. Duh.

And I still don’t know the answer. Right now all I’m certain of is whilst Nokia’s making great strides to make people aware, the work it alone is doing might not be enough to get those same people to change their habits. It is of course a good start, but the final solution?