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August 1, 2008

Global awareness on mobile phones recycling low: Nokia survey

Three out of every four mobile phone users globally do not think of recycling their devices, despite accepting the fact that recycling could lessen the impact on the environment, according to a global consumer survey released by Nokia.

By CBR Staff Writer

The survey found that nearly half are unaware that it is even possible to recycle mobile phones.

Of the 6,500 consumers covered in the survey, only 3% said that they had recycled their old phone, while 44% simply kept the old devices at home. About 16% of people are selling their used devices, particularly in emerging markets, while one quarter are giving away their old phones to friends or family. About 4% of old devices are being thrown into landfill.

The survey has covered people in 13 countries including Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, UK, UAE, US, Nigeria, India, China, Indonesia and Brazil. Mobile phone recycling awareness levels were the highest in the UK at 80% while they were the lowest in India at 17% and Indonesia at 29%.

Markus Terho, director of environmental affairs, markets, at Nokia, said: It is clear from this survey that when mobile devices finally reach the end of their lives that very few of them are recycled. Many people are simply unaware that these old and unused mobiles lying around in drawers can be recycled or how to do this. 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 four million cars off the road.

Nokia plans to launch a series of campaigns and activities to spread information on why, how and where to recycle old and unwanted devices, chargers and mobile accessories. It will also expand its global take-back programme by adding more collection bins.

Mobile devices can be recycled and materials within it can be reused to make products such as kettles, benches, dental fillings and metal musical instruments.

Terho said: Using the best recycling technology nothing is wasted. Between 65% and 80% 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.

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