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Canberra sets (unofficial) world record for technology recycling

Dominic Giannini 15 November 2019 1

Minister Rattenbury at the phone recycling station. Photos: Supplied.

Canberra now holds the (very unofficial) world record for most phones collected for recycling in one day, with the initiative collecting 747 old phones, as well as numerous chargers and accessories, putting the capital on top of the rankings by default.

But with thousands more phones lurking in the back of drawers or collecting dust, the ACT Government is encouraging Canberrans to donate all their used mobile phones and technology for recycling.

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury says that although no world record is currently set for mobile phone recycling, thereby giving Canberra the title by default, he hopes Thursday’s effort will inspire other cities around Australia and the world to compete and send fewer phones in landfill.

“It may come as a surprise to most, but mobile phone parts can often be recycled,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Mobile phones contain many different materials including glass, aluminium, gold, silver and copper that can be extracted and reused in products such as jewellery and new batteries.”

A helpful child assists in the collection of old mobile phones to be recycled.

“If you have old mobile phones or chargers at home collecting dust or clogging up your cupboards, be sure to drop these into the Actsmart team,” urged Mr Rattenbury.

Canberra schools were also praised for their involvement in the Actsmart program which teaches them more about environmental sustainability.

And if you’re worried about privacy, Mr Rattenbury suggests a factory reset.

“I would say to people if you are worried about privacy, strip the data out, take the sim card out, restore the factory settings – the type of things that we’ve all had to do at various times.

“It’s easy to do,” he said. “And if you don’t know how to do it, ask the young person in your household to do it for you.”

If you missed this week’s recycling drive, have no fear. Mobile phones can be dropped off for recycling across the capital every day. Visit Recycling Near You or Actsmart to learn more.


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One Response to Canberra sets (unofficial) world record for technology recycling
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Acton Acton 11:49 am 18 Nov 19

What percentage of collected phones are picked apart, separated into useful elements and actually recycled?
What percentage of collected phones end up as landfill in council dumps?
What percentage of collected phones are, or until recently were, simply bundled up and sent off to China, Indonesia and Malaysia where they may be recycled, dumped as landfill or end up as plastic pollution in the ocean?
We are a wasteful society and the most wasteful people are those motivated by vanity to regularly upgrade their phones and deluded into thinking their waste is not contributing to global pollution.

The fact is that waste import policies of China and other countries has made it harder to find a home for our recyclables. The shutdown of recycling facilities, especially in Victoria, has led to a small number of councils having to send some recyclables to landfill until new markets are found.

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