Media Releases | 9th Dec, 2005

Mobile phone recycling scheme rises from the ashes

Friday, 9 December 2005

A revamped mobile phone recycling scheme must set more aggressive targets if it is to succeed, said Victoria’s leading environment group.

The new scheme, Mobilemuster, launched by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association today, aims to increase the number of who recycle their mobiles from 4% under a previous program to 12% over three years.

But Environment Victoria said 12% was too conservative and underestimated the willingness of consumers to recycle if given the right information and resources.

EV’s Zero Waste Campaign Director Jenny Henty said there will be about 26.5 million mobile phones that will become redundant in the next three years. Under AMTA’s 12% target, only three million phones will be recycled.

“The last AMTA scheme failed. Industry now appears to have learnt from their mistakes with new, improved information and resources available to consumers, as well as the reintroduction of an industry levy,” said Ms Henty.

“But if industry is serious about ensuring Mobilemuster succeeds, about keeping this toxic waste out of landfill, then they’ve got to be more ambitious – in doing so, they will encourage more consumers to recycle.”

Ms Henty said that in contrast, governments recently locked in high targets for packaging – 65% recycling by 2010.

“There is an urgency around tackling mobile phones – it’s hazardous waste and should be kept out of the ground. And with new phones and new networks being launched all the time, the urgency is even more pressing.”

While the new scheme appeared to be more user-friendly for consumers, Ms Henty is concerned about accurate collecting and auditing of data.

“Data is important if industry is to measure success and judging by information on the revamped scheme, this appears to be a weakness. If we are to have faith in Mobilemuster then AMTA must ensure it is fully accountable,” she said.

“Environment Ministers should not settle for mediocre performance. Environment Minister John Thwaites has called for better mobile phone recycling – he must now ensure industry delivers.

“And most of all, consumers should embrace recycling and take old mobile phones back to local retailers.”