Online mobile phone recycling scheme launched

July 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm

According to some estimates, there are 90 million unused mobile handsets sitting around in homes across the UK, collecting dust at this very moment. People are constantly reminded not to throw away their old phones due to the toxic properties of some of the ingredients and as a result they are unsure of what to do with them.

If you have an old handset (or even a few) lying around at home, then you will be interested to hear about the new service offered by MPRC (The Mobile Phone Repair Company), which has just launched a new mobile phone recycling scheme that claims to be simpler and more efficient than any of the other schemes currently available.

The aim behind the scheme is to recycle old phones for the precious plastics and metals that are found within them, and for this reason the handsets do not have to be functioning.

The service, which complies with current EU legislation and is done in an environmentally friendly manner, aims to form “financially productive partnerships with charities, businesses and members of the public”, according to the website.

The process is simple: just go to the website, choose your model of phone and fill in the form. You will then be sent a freepost envelope in which to post your phone, and when the phone is received you will be paid.

The prices are pretty good too. For a Nokia N95, you can get £120 for a working phone and £60 for a non-working model. However, for older models the prices are a bit lower, with phones such as the Nokia 2100 being bought for £2 for a working model and £1 if it is not functioning.

The company claims that payment is guaranteed within 14 days, and it also states that a free courier collection is on offer for 10 or more phones at a time, which could be useful for charities looking to capitalise on the scheme.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Chip-and-bin fails in Norfolk

July 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Much has been made in the press of the chip-and-bin plans, whereby householders pay according to how much waste they produce. However, the failure of a trial in Norfolk, which started in 2002, could be bad news for the Government.

Computer problems, the irritation of local residents over the Big Brother type surveillance and a two-and-a-half fold increase in fly-tipping have brought the trial to a halt.

52,000 homes in the South Norfolk District Council area took part at a cost of over £1 million pounds, £25,000 of which was spent on fitting the necessary equipment to 12 dust carts. The microchips fitted to the bins (and used successfully in Europe for over a decade) were supposed to send data on the weight of refuse and the address of the household to a computer on the dust cart. In order to ensure accuracy, each bin was weighed six times on the way up and a further six times on the way down. However, problems with the electrics, hydraulics, mechanics and computer rendered the scheme unworkable.

District Council leader, John Fuller, has said that in order for the scheme to succeed, the technology has to work “in every bin, in every street on every day of the year”. Three other areas piloting the scheme have also had “significant difficulties”.

Despite the problems experienced already, the government is still seeking other councils to take part in trials next year. South Norfolk’s trial was not an official pilot but was paid for by government grants for recycling, which could be spent in whatever way the council wished. The legislation for official pilot schemes has not yet been passed.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

£15 million Dorset recycling plant on the way

July 16, 2008 at 6:50 pm

Stand by Dorset, because you’re soon going to be getting a £15 million recycling plant that will end up seeing over 120,000 tonnes of waste coming through its doors every year. Just outside the quaint west-country town of Wareham will stand a three-in-one recycling plant, consisting of an inert recycling facility, an in-vessel composting centre for food and kitchen waste, and a materials recycling facility (MRF).

The decision was passed by the local council last month and the proposal now looks set to be moved up to the next level. There is currently a huge demand for a plant in the area, as a great amount of waste is currently being forced into landfills. There is simply no other option. Now that the site has been approved by the rubber stamp personnel, building will begin later this year and continue into next spring potentially being completed by the close of 2009.

The plant has raised a number of concerns by the local communities around the Purbeck region though and many nearby residents are somewhat concerned over the likely increase in traffic pollution, which undoubtedly will lead to noise and air pollution as well as congestion on the currently quiet and peaceful roads.

However, the council has listened to the concerns of the locals and still feel there is a way in which the plant can be built whilst still remaining in favour with the local communities. They are working with local residents to make sure everyone is kept abreast of each stage.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Worries over Scotland’s recycling

July 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

A few weeks ago, Scotland’s recycling figures were published, leading to worries that the country will be unable to deliver on the ambitious targets imposed by the Scottish Government earlier this year. These targets aim to increase municipal recycling or composting rates to 40% by 2010, 50% by 2013, 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025, with equally ambitious targets being set for landfill: the rate is currently 69% but the targets are 56% by 2010, 36% by 2013, 15% by 2020 and 5% by 2025.

The new figures reveal that, between 2006 and 2007, Scotland’s recycling rate has improved modestly by 4.1%, making its annual rate 31.2%. Richard Lochhead, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, heralded the figures as proof that the country was going in the right direction.

This sentiment was not shared by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, however, with Mike Rumbles, the shadow environment secretary, raising concerns that, with the reduction in the waste budget of £26 million, the targets were going to be extremely difficult to achieve.

The head of the waste unit at SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) echoed the Lib Dems’ concerns, saying that the targets for the future are “very challenging” and that the Scots cannot “slow down yet”.

Of course much of Scotland’s waste is produced by non-municipal users in industry and commerce and Mr Lochhead stated earlier this year that he would be turning his attentions to these areas too.

Mr Lochhead does not see the recycling issues purely in terms of the environment but has also said that they will lead to greater job opportunities in the waste sector.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Supermarkets failing on packaging

July 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

The Telegraph has reported that Marks & Spencer suffered a humiliating blow recently in its pledge to become the greenest retailer in Britain, when it was announced that it had come bottom of a league of supermarkets in the amount of recyclable packaging that it uses. This comes despite the £200 million ‘eco plan’ which it launched last year to put it top of such leagues, and shows that very little progress has been made.

The LGA (Local Government Association) discovered that a meagre 62% of its packaging was suitable for recycling, which put it joint bottom with Lidl, which also had a large amount of non-recyclable packaging in its average shopping basket.

In terms of packaging alone, M&S has more packaging than any other store with 807g in the average basket, compared to 746g for Sainsbury’s and 668g for Tescos. The results of the research were disputed by M&S, who said that 91% of its packaging was recyclable.

However, all of the figures remain too high, suggesting that supermarkets are still not pulling their weight in the bid to reduce waste and promote recycling. Although they constantly promote how green they are, this simply is not the case.

The report also highlighted biscuits and pizzas as some of the worst products for unnecessary packaging, whilst at the same time stating that some products, such as broccoli (which now comes without shrink wrap in some of the stores), were in fact improving,

It seems that not a lot has changed since the first survey was carried out last October. In that time period, the general amount of packaging being used has gone down slightly, but the amount of recyclable packaging has hardly changed at all. Seeing as both the government and consumers have been putting pressure on them to reduce their waste, this is a discouraging result.

Paul Bettison is the Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, and he said that: “The days of the cling film coconut must come to an end”. The advice for shoppers if they want to reduce their packaging is to shop at local markets, which are far more efficient than supermarkets in preventing waste.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »