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Please replace the handset

May 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

A report entitled ‘Please replace the handset: mobile phone recycling in the UK’ has just been published and provides answers to many of the questions that may cross your mind when you upgrade your phone.

Telecoms analysts, Ovum, who produced the report, say that the UK market is now far more “cut-throat”. The consumer, it seems, cares far more about the financial benefits of diverting their unwanted handsets from landfill than the environmental or charitable ones.

According to Ovum’s figures, some eight million mobile phones were recycled last year (almost double the previous year’s figure) and only 10% were melted for scrap. Many old mobiles now end up in developing countries such as India, China and much of Africa, but Hong Kong is another important destination with auction houses there buying and selling by the crate load.

Charities such as Shelter and Children in Need are feeling the pinch, both because in times of recession people hang on to their phones for longer and because the public is becoming increasingly aware of how much their old handset is worth to them. It is now possible to get cash for almost any phone, although obviously the better condition it is in, the more it is worth.

A quick look on the internet shows that sites such as Mazuma Mobile and Fonebank offer up to £280 for your unwanted mobile. According to Charlo Carabott of Mazuma this means that people are far less likely now to hang on to an old mobile to the point where it cannot be reused and so ends up in landfill.

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