James Murray at the Green Business News blog from IT Week (UK) provides an example of a mobile recycling company called Fonebak which is taking advantage of the new WEEE regulations to create a new business.
Under a scheme operated by mobile phone disposal specialist Fonebak and supported by leading mobile manufacturers, operators and retailers such as Vodafone, Orange, O2, Dixons, PC World and Virgin, firms can dispose of their unwanted mobile phones and attachments through a WEEE-compliant channel and get cash in return.
Firms signing up to the scheme receive either free post bags to send unwanted mobiles to Fonebak’s recycling facilities, or securely-sealed plastic boxes which they can fill with 40 to 50 phones ahead of collection.
According to Sarah Band of Fonebak the company then “sorts the phones, tests them, recycles the materials from those that don’t work and refurbishes those that are working, and remarkets them in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa”.
This approach not only provides affordable mobile phones to developing world economies, but also generates revenue from the sale of both refurbished phones and the components and precious metals harvested from recycled handsets. “Plastics in phones are melted down and used in saucepans, traffic cones and buckets,” she explained. “While Gold, copper and the like is taken out and sold on commodity markets.”
We already know that “waste equals food”. Food equals money. In the meantime, we can make a difference to the environment and the community.