Leading Australian astrophysicist Professor Alan Duffy in his new role as Ambassador for MobileMuster is encouraging Australians to join MobileMuster’s nationwide challenge to Go for Zero in March 2021. The first target is those 5 million damaged and broken mobile phones lying forgotten in homes across Australia. While the mobile phones and their accessories don’t even work anymore, they represent a valuable stockpile of resources that can be recovered and reused.
Australian consumers are early adopters of new technology and on average update their phones every 2.5 years. So old phones tend to accumulate – in desk drawers, in a box in the garage or the cupboard in the spare room, along with their chargers, cords and other accessories. We stash them in case we need them again, or because we aren’t sure how to get rid of our personal data, and because we know we can’t just throw them in the bin.
Research shows there are 24 million old mobiles in Australia, and about 5 million of them are actually broken. Inside them are valuable components including metals such as gold, copper, silver and palladium. We go to extraordinary lengths to mine these precious resources from across the world and then ship them to giant factories to join assembly lines and then transport them again to their final markets before they end up in your hand. That’s a lot of energy, a lot of carbon, a lot of resources.
Alan Duffy explains how important it is that precious metals and other materials are recovered through recycling and then reused in new products. This is one of the principles of the circular economy.
“One electronic device that almost every adult has is the smartphone. This has changed lives, societies, and economies. But when they are no longer of use, we throw these devices into a desk draw or cupboard. Literally letting all the materials and energy that have gone into making our devices go to waste. Extending the life of your phone and recycling when it reaches the end of its life is a first step in a circular journey that then never ends.”
When you take action and return that phone to MobileMuster for recycling, 95% of all materials are recovered and used again. It’s a fantastic outcome. And now that MobileMuster is 100% carbon neutral you know you are helping to reduce your carbon footprint too.
If all 5 million of those broken phones were recycled, we’d save 9,850 tonnes of mineral resources needing to be extracted from the ground. We’d also save 1,930 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of planning 50,000 trees. Taking part is easy for organisations this March by signing up to be a collection point and encouraging their local community to recycle.
Six easy tips on how every Australian can enact the 3 R’s (Reuse, Recycle and Repair) and Go For Zero March 2021: