Despite upgrading mobile phones regularly, it seems that we are reluctant to get get rid of our old phones, creating a stockpile of old, unused mobile phones worth over £1bn, according to a new study by T-Mobile.
In response to these findings T-Mobile is launching a mobile phone recycling scheme where anyone can return their old mobile via a freepost bag, thereby reducing waste and earning money either for charity or themselves.
The research estimates that, with each of us having at least one or two spare phones lying about, there are approximately 52.3 million mobile phones gathering dust in drawers and cupboards, with each redundant handset worth an average of £22.40.
"With a stockpile of over 52 million handsets sitting redundant at home, there is an opportunity for all mobile phone owners to get their share of this £1 billion," said Devine Kofiloto, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
"The issue of mobile phone recycling has been discussed across the industry for several years. Now is the time for people to realise that they can do their bit and raise money either for charity or themselves at the same time."
Under the scheme, anyone who wishes to recycle an old phone, regardless of network, can pick up a recycling bag at a T-Mobile store and customers will receive one automatically when they buy a new phone.
A T-Mobile spokesman told vnunet.com that the instructions on the recycling bag tell users to remove the SIM card and to delete all information from the phone before sending it in to minimise the risk of data falling into the hands of fraudsters.
The phones are also magnetically wiped at the processing centre and any SIM cards that have not been removed will be destroyed.
"The great thing about this scheme is that you don't have to give anything up to do something good. Anyone can put their old phone in our freepost bag and reduce waste and make money, either for charity or themselves, as part of the process," said Jim Hyde, CEO of T-Mobile UK
The phones will either be refreshed and resold in emerging markets or broken down and recycled. In return, T-Mobile will give each customer, or a charity of their choice, up to £80 per phone.
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