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Mobile phone recycling scheme gets New Zealand government approval
Posted on 8-Jul-2014 18:57. | Tags Filed under: News.

Environment Minister Amy Adams has today announced that the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum’s (TCF) mobile phone recycling programme has received government accreditation.

The programme, known as RE:MOBILE, is the first product stewardship scheme dealing with e-waste to be accredited under the Waste Minimisation Act.

“E-waste is a growing waste issue as New Zealanders increasingly own multiple devices, such as phones, computers and tablets,” Ms Adams says.

“On average, New Zealanders replace their mobile phones every 18 months, leading to a significant number of phones available for reuse or recycling. In fact, it is estimated that each year up to three million mobile phones become obsolete in New Zealand. Of those, only about 2 per cent are recycled. There is significant potential for improved efficiency in the use of resources if we can capture and process e-waste."

RE:MOBILE has been running since 2010 and involves Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees, as well as waste companies Swapkit, Zero Waste New Zealand and Sims Recycling.

The scheme covers mobile and smart phones, their batteries and accessories such as chargers, data cables and head-sets.

TCF outgoing Chief Executive David Stone says the scheme – known as RE:MOBILE is the first e-waste recycling programme in the country to achieve Government accreditation.

“This Government seal of approval of our programme is proof that it has met its environmental requirements for accreditation. Now anyone who wants to recycle their phone knows that they are using an approved scheme,”

“We hope that people will be encouraged to bring in their unwanted phones to Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees stores around the country following the Government endorsement of this programme. Over 70% of kiwis have at least one unconnected mobile in their house, this tells us that there are many phones still lying around in people’s homes,” he says.

Vodafone, Telecom and 2degrees have in-store recycling bins around New Zealand where people can drop off their old mobile phones. They also offer a free mail-in service for old phones, and there are regular community-based recycling campaigns.

The phones are sorted into those that can be sold overseas for reuse and those suitable for recycling. Non-working phones are sent to local recyclers for dismantling before the parts are sold overseas.

Some of the funds raised through the sale of reusable phones are donated to the Starship Foundation.

By 2020, RE:MOBILE aims to increase the number of phones collected annually for reuse or recycling to nearly 300,000, reduce the number of mobile phones going to landfill by 2 per cent, and reduce the number of old phones stored at home by 10 per cent.

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