A kilogram of gold can be extracted from 50 000 mobile phone handsets and they can also be recycled into jewellery, even fence posts. So before your old mobile ends up clogging up a bottom drawer or is simply chucked out with the household garbage, check out Mobile Muster.
Mobile Muster is an initiative by the Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association (AMTA) that recycles old phones into an array of resources. It was launched in December and the results from January showed that collection of old handsets increased by 50 percent compared to previous months.
It is estimated that only 46 percent of Australians are aware that mobile phones can be recycled and there could be more than 12 million phones lying around people’s homes and offices nationwide. Mobile Muster’s mission is to put them to good use.
Gold, silver, nickel and plastics can be extracted to make anything from jewellery to fence posts. Accordingly, one kilogram of gold can be extracted from every 50 000 handsets.
Conversely, old handsets and batteries are environmentally harmful. Recycling manager for AMTA, Rose Read, said “Old phones simply do not biodegrade in landfill. The batteries are quite harmful; if the cadmium from them leaches, it can be quite harmful to the waterways.
“We have been recycling mobile phones since 1999 and the recovery rate has been good, but it could be a lot better. The MobileMuster program was introduced to provide mobile phone users with a simple and free recycling solution. The program has been very well received with collection volumes from retailers in January up by 50 percent compared to previous months – this is a great first step but we still have a way to go to achieving our targets,” she said.
Over 1000 mobile phone shops recycle phones for Mobile Muster, which is more spots than McDonald’s restaurants. If you have driven down the Gold Coast Highway, you’d know that really is quite a number.
“The response from mobile phone retailers has been excellent, and we are now calling on all big business, local councils, schools and universities to get involved and help collect mobile phones for recycling by running their own MobileMuster at work, school or in their local community,” said Ms Read.