Mobile phone recycling musters a good response

Mobile phone recycling is going gangbusters, as the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) reported collection volumes has increased by 50 percent though retail channels.

Monthly collection averages grew from 1200 kilograms to 2300 kilograms in January. This equated to more than 11,500 mobile phone kits (consisting of one battery, handset and charger). AMTA aims to treble the annual collection rates over the next three years from 60 tonnes to 180 tonnes per year and halve the number going to landfill by 2008.

"It's a good response but it has to be an ongoing process," said Rose Read, manager of AMTA's national recycling program.

The program was launched in 1999, but was rebranded as MobileMuster late last year following surveys conducted by AMTA that found consumers were both unaware of the program and the need to recycle unused mobile phones.

"Our research showed that consumer awareness of the program was only at 46 percent," Read said. "Many people were holding onto their phones, unaware they could recycle them, or where."

Phones can be deposited at Optus, Telstra and Vodafone branded stores or service centres, as well as independent mobile phone retailers.

Read said the next step for the program was to expand MobileMuster's collection network by targeting local councils, state and federal government agencies, schools and business.

"It's all about making it easy for people to remember to recycle their phones," she said. "We don't want any phones to go into landfills because they're not biodegradable and there are lots of valuable materials in them that can be reused."

To find your nearest MobileMuster collection point or to run your own MobileMuster visit www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070.

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