Call for mobile phone recycling standards

by GreenWire.org.uk. Published Fri 27 Mar 2009 12:02
Phone mountain awaiting processing

Regenersis, Europe’s largest mobile phone recycling and reuse provider, is demanding new standards for mobile phone recycling across Europe which include the removal of all data from handsets received, a ban on the export of non-working handsets which could end up as waste and a zero landfill policy.

The Company has produced a research paper as a first step to setting industry standards for the reuse and recycling of unwanted mobile phones, of which there are an estimated 15m replaced each year in the UK alone. The standards focus on three main areas:

* The removal of all personal data from every handset received to protect the identity of those who have willingly returned an unwanted handset

* Segregating working from non-working handsets at source rather than shipping all products received to developing economies.

* Operating a zero landfill policy and ensuring that all non-working, non repairable products are recycled in their home market rather than in places such as China, India or Africa, minimizing impact on the environment

The company processed over 2m handsets for reuse and recycling in 2008 and supports major brands like Orange, O2, and Vodafone; major charities like Shelter, Sense and BBC Children in Need; and operates the Coolafone joint venture.

Regenersis studied a random sample of 2000 handsets processed during the first week in December and found that 99% of handsets received contained some sort of personal data, including: Contacts, SMS messages, pictures, music, videos, calendar entries, emails, notes, mailing lists and to do lists.

In some cases, extremely sensitive information was contained, including bank details, addresses, and confidential emails.

Mark Franklin, Managing Director of Regenersis, which has operated a zero landfill policy for over five years, said, “The reuse and recycling market is becoming more and more crowded and we want to ensure that the consumer, when making a choice of recyclers, is making an informed and responsible decision.

“By implementing these standards, we protect the consumer by removing all data from the devices received. We protect the markets to which our products are resold, by only remarketing quality products, and we protect the environment by ensuring that nothing goes to landfill."

The company undertook market research in December of 2008 and found that over 90% of consumers would be shocked, annoyed or disappointed if their mobile phone had not been handled in this manner.




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