Recycling Mobile Phones

Lets talk recycling

Lets talk recycling

Can I recycle mobile phones?

Yes - There are an increasing number of options for recycling and re-using old mobile phones.

The main channels for disposing of mobiles are the shops that sell them, but there are other organisations and charities that accept them for refurbishment and recycling:

  • Fonebak was launched within these stores and collects and donates monies to charities.
  • Action Aid
  • Oxfam
  • CRUMP (Campaign To Recycle Unwanted Mobile Phones)
  • Scope
  • Fones4Schools enables schools to earn cash for old phones

What are they made from?

Mobiles contain a range of materials including metals, plastics and several valuable components - such as silver - which can be extracted and re-used.

How are they Recycled and What happens to them aftewards

Most schemes recover and re-use various parts from phones and their accessories.

Parts recovery may include:

  • Separate metals recovery (including precious and semiprecious metals): The mobile parts are ground up and useful metal content extracted. Metal can be extracted from batteries too.
  • Plastic recovery: energy-from-incineration is used to recover plastic from components. Outer body plastic may be granulated and reformulated for use in mouldings.
  • Recovery and downgrading of valuable components: e.g. flash memory devices.
  • Re-use of parts: Useful parts include aerials, battery connectors, PCBs (printed circuit boards), connectors including gold-coated edge contacts on PCBs, ICs (integrated circuits), keyboards, LCD screens, lenses, microphones, phone housings, screws, SIM card assemblies and speakers.

Many manufacturers have signed up to the Basel Convention agreeing to cooperate with developing environmentally sound management to end-of-life mobile phones.

What can I do with them?

Firstly think before you buy, do you really need that new phone?

  • Many charities recycle old mobile phones and handheld PDAs as they are a good source of income. You can recycle them by:
  • using a charity recycling envelope for a single item; or
  • collecting a box full and contacting the charity.
  • Some charities like Action Aid and Oxfam offer a pick-up service if you collect a large enough quantity of mobile phones. They may also be able to provide posters to help you promote the scheme at work.
  • If you’re unsure which charity to contact, visit the Recycling Appeal which recycles mobile phones, PDAs and ink cartridges on behalf of a number of different charities - from the RSPB to children’s charities and cancer care.
  • Fones4schools offers schools the chance to earn cash for collecting old mobile phones and all phones are re-used or recycled!

Don’t leave them in your drawers, free your phone.

Your ideas for re-using

  • Give your old phone to a member of your family or friend, what’s outdated to you may be hi-tech to your mum