Nokia offers SA’s first cellphone take-back service

Posted by Laura Grant on October 13, 2008
Posted in Lifestyle

If each of the 3 billion people in the world who owns a cellphone recycled just one device, 240,000 tons of raw materials could be saved and greenhouse gases equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road could be saved, says Markus Terho, a director of environmental affairs at Nokia.

But at present only 3 percent of old cellphones are being recycled because people appear to be unaware that they can be.

Nokia has started taking back unwanted cellphones in South Africa with the aim of raising consumer awareness in this country of the fact that these devices can be recycled.

The company has already placed recycling boxes at 20 of its care points, but pretty soon all 34 Nokia care points countrywide should have them, the company says. Take-back collection points should display Nokia’s “We recycle” logo on a poster in the shop window.

You can drop off any make of mobile device including accessories and batteries, the company says.

At present the phones that are handed in are shipped overseas to an accredited recycler because there are no accredited partners in South Africa with the required certifications to do the recycling locally. But the company says it is working at sourcing recyclers within the local market that can be given the necessary accreditation to ensure the proper treatment of used devices.

Between 65 and 80 percent of any Nokia device is recyclable, says Terho. Precious materials can be reclaimed and reused in products such as kettles, park benches, dental fillings or even saxophones and other metal musical instruments. Plastics that can’t be recycled are burnt to provide energy for the recycling process, and other materials are ground up into chips and used as construction materials or for building roads. In this way nothing has to go to landfill, says the company.

Thanks to its globally expanding cellphone take-back programme, Nokia has reclaimed the top spot in the latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. The company says it’s working hard to make it easier for people to recycle, providing information and take-back programmes.

A survey conducted earlier this year found that globally people on average have each owned about five phones, but very few are thrown away or recycled. More than 40 pecent of people simply had them lying around unused in drawers. About 25 percent said they passed on their old phones to friends or family, and 16 percent sold their used devices in emerging markets.

To find your closest Nokia Care point visit the Nokia website or phone 086 11 NOKIA.


2 Responses to “Nokia offers SA’s first cellphone take-back service”

  1. Cape Town Oracle | Cellphone recycling comes to South Africa
    October 14th, 2008 @ 10:59 am

    […] Drop off any make of mobile device, including chargers and accessories at one of Cape Town’s Nokia care points. You’ll find them at Canal Walk, Green Point, Tyger Valley and Somerset West. [via: Treevolution] […]

  2. Gordon Snyderrs
    January 7th, 2010 @ 11:02 am

    I’m interested in starting up a cell phone recycling facility. How do I get accreditation and what other supoort or advise is available?

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