Recycling

Transforming electronic waste into valuable materials.

Why recycling matters

Through our recycling process MobileMuster transforms the components from mobile phone waste into valuable materials for reuse. It means that fewer raw materials need to be extracted and processed to make new products.

The environmental benefit is gained from avoiding future greenhouse gas emissions, saving energy, protecting the environment and conserving natural resources. Through recycling you’re also preventing potentially hazardous materials from entering the environment.

To measure the environmental benefit of recycling your phone take a look at our calculator. You can enter the number of mobile phones or kilograms into the calculator and see the positive impact you can have on the environment by recycling.

When you drop off your mobile phone for recycling at a MobileMuster collection point they are transported to our recycler in Australia.

They are sorted and disassembled into components: batteries, printed circuit boards, casing, screens, accessories and packaging.

These components are processed separately through shredding, sorting and heating techniques to maximise resource recovery.

Reuse options

Extending the life of a product is an important part of the circular economy and will reduce their environmental impact.

Our members can help extend the life of your phone through their repair and reuse programs. MobileMuster works with service centres and repair shops to ensure that any mobiles and components that can’t be reused are recycled the right way.

Find repair and service centres for your mobile phone – Alcatel –  Apple –  HMD GlobalHTCHuawei –  GoogleMicrosoft –  MotorolaOppoSamsungZTE

If your mobile is still working consider extending its life by either selling it or passing it on to friends and family. Remember to remove any data on your phone before you sell or give your phone away. Read our data management tips

If you want to donate your phone think about giving it to our reuse charity partner Able Australia. Able Australia reuses smartphones to help people in Australia with deafblindness stay connected. They provide training and educate people on how to use speech recognition and Braille readers via mobile technology. Read more about how you can help Able Australia by donating an unwanted phone.

MobileMuster partners with many of the commercial reuse programs in Australia as their recycling partner to ensure that any mobiles and accessories which have no resale value are recycled. If you sell or donate your phone make sure you ask lots of questions and think about if it is going to a place where it can be recycled when it reaches the end of its life. We don’t want our old mobiles ending up as an e-waste problem in another country.

Reuse program in Australia include Boomerang Buyback, Mazuma Mobile, Mobile Monster and Phone Cycle. If your phone doesn’t have any resale value or has stopped working then it is time to recycle it.

The recycling process

MobileMuster partners with TES, a global leader in electronic waste recycling, to maximize recovery rates and ensure all mobile phone components are processed in an environmentally responsible manner. Through our recycling over 99% of the materials in a mobile phone are recovered.

How your mobile phone lives on?
When you drop off your old mobile phones for recycling they are collected and transported to our recycling facilities in Australia. They are sorted and disassembled into components including batteries, printed circuit boards, casing, screens, accessories and packaging. These components are then further processed separately through shredding and sorting techniques to maximise resource recovery.

Glass is used in the touch screen of a mobile phone. Glass is crushed and melted so that it can be used to create new glass products and as a replacement material in construction.

Aluminium is used in a mobile phone casing and components. It is one of the most recyclable materials and uses considerable less energy than producing new aluminium. Aluminium is melted in a furnace and the liquid aluminium is then placed in moulds to create new aluminium products.

A small amount of valuable metals including gold, silver and copper can be found on a mobile phone circuit board. The metals are separated, extracted and processed to be reused again. Recycled metals can be reused in jewellery, coins, industrial and electronic applications. Other metals found on the circuit board are processed into metal ingots and reused.

Lithium batteries are processed to recover valuable materials including steel, copper, aluminium and a mixed metal compound that can be used to make new batteries.

Plastic can be found on mobile phone battery and accessories. Older mobile phone also used plastic in the casing. Recycled plastic is processed into pellets and can be turned into pallets, park benches, fence posts and polar fleece jackets. It requires a lot less energy than goes into making new plastic from fossil fuels.

Paper and cardboard are used in mobile phone packaging. The packaging is recycled into new paper products which saves energy, water and landfill space.

Circular economy

A circular economy is designed to support the repair, reuse and recycling of products so that the materials that have gone into making them retain their value and can continue to be reused.

To support the circular economy it is important to extend the life of your phone where you can. Device manufacturers make it easy to update software and entire operating systems without the need to purchase a new phone. They also offer repair and reuse programs for customers and when the phone no longer works you can recycle them through Mobile Muster.

MobileMuster helps to develop the circular economy in Australia, specifically we believe our role is to:

  • Enhance the collection system of unwanted phones;
  • Support repair and reuse programs to increase the lifespan of mobile phone use;
  • Improve the material recovery process in recycling; and
  • Reduce the number of phones in storage.

Fast facts

Decluttering Tips

Find your clutter. Locate all your old mobiles and accessories that you have stashed away in your home office, garage and desk drawers. Chances are, you’ll find old mobiles that are broken and no longer wanted, along with chargers and accessories that you no longer have a use for.

Organise your digital life. If your old mobiles are still working take some time to organise the data you have stored on them Follow our data management tips on how to backup, log out and reset. This means your old mobile phone will be ready to be reused or recycled.  

Complete the cycle. A great rule when decluttering is one in and one out. If you purchase a new mobile phone recycle an old one, along with its accessories, to complete the cycle. You may be tempted to keep your latest mobile as a backup but there’s no point holding onto two, three, four or five old handsets plus their accessories – many of which are broken anyway.

Sort out those tangled cords. The cords from your unused electronics are like a tangled mess of spaghetti in your drawers and under your desk. Ten minutes, a little effort, some nifty cleverness and you can tame these unruly cables once and for all; recycling what you don’t need.

Recycle. Take back any old mobile phones and accessories that you no longer use to your local mobile phone retailer so they can be recycled by MobileMuster, or pick-up a free reply paid satchel from Australia Post outlets.

Time. Set aside time to organise your home office and old electronics on a regular basis. Decluttering your home is something that can be done every day.  Make a date with yourself. Put it in your diary and get rid of your old mobile phones and accessories today!

Global e-waste information

The growing amount of e-waste is a worldwide challenge as valuable and scarce resources are going to waste. According to the United Nations all the countries in the world combined generated a staggering 44.7 million tonnes or an equivalent of 6.1 kilogram per inhabitant  of e-waste annually. Only 20% of e-waste is reported to be collected and recycled globally. Read more United Nations, Global E-Waste Monitor (2017)

In Australia we have programs like MobileMuster to ensure that mobile phones and accessories are recycled the right way.