Wednesday, 15 November 2017 13:46

MobileMuster recycles over 1 million phones and batteries, 79 tonnes of components

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Having mustered a stellar recycling performance over the past year, including "growing industry participation and the volume of mobile phone components recycled through the programme", MobileMuster is celebrating 20 years.

MobileMuster is Australia's mobile phone wastage buster, celebrating the past 12 months of achievement of collecting and recycling "79 tonnes of mobile phone components, including over 1 million handsets and batteries”, according to its manager, Spyro Kalos.

As the industry product stewardship programme moves into its 20th year, it's great to see MobileMuster reporting that "the mobile telecommunications industry continues to invest and lead the way in product stewardship providing a free take back and recycling service for all mobile phone users, along with retailers, workplaces, and local councils within Australia."

Key highlights from the detailed, 26-page financial year 2017 annual report, which can be freely downloaded here, include:

  • E-waste has been one of the major issues affecting Australia, fuelled by the increased rate at which people upgrade to new devices.
  • However, 77% of Australians are now privy to their options for mobile phone recycling, a figure MobileMuster is working to increase through ongoing education and public awareness programmes.
  • An Increase in the collection of mobile phones recycled to 79 tonnes.
  • A recycling rate of 99% and a diversion from landfill rate of 99%.
  • A total of 60,000 meals delivered to people in need through the Mobile for a Meal campaign.
  • Securing participation from two new major industry players: HMD Global (Nokia) and Google.
  • Ensuring mobile phone batteries are now processed onshore through Envirostream.
  • Managing a successful partnership with one of Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisations, Able Australia, for the second year in a row.
  • The programme collected, tested and data wiped from smartphones which were used by Able Australia to educate people with deafblindness on how to use speech recognition and Braille readers through mobile technology.

So, what's next for 2018 when the MobileMuster program turns 21?

We're told that in the coming year MobileMuster, the recycling program managed by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association on behalf of the mobile telecommunications industry, "will work with its members and collection partners to continue to raise the awareness and sustainability of mobile phone recycling in Australia".

AMTA "also welcomes the review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011 and looks forward to working with the government to maintain MobileMuster as a voluntary scheme that delivers enhanced environmental, social and economic outcomes in Australia".

The report also dovetails beautifully with WhistleOut's new research suggesting 30 million phones are sitting in Australian drawers doing nothing, when they could be being recycled by MobileMuster, or if still genuinely usable, sold to earn yourself some money!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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