Electronics Waste: Recycling of Mobile Phones
Electronics Waste: Recycling of Mobile Phone
- Recycling bins and information material for consumers were put in place. More than
1400 specially designed secure bins where placed at Nokia Care Centers and Branded
Retail Stores.
- Reverse Logistics and IT system were developed for collection of phones from drop-off
points, consolidation and shipment to recycling company. IT system was also used for
capturing the number of phones and accessories dropped for recycling along with some
details of the person who had dropped it.
- Local recycling companies needed to be assessed to ensure that they fulfilled the
requirements from business, environmental and security point of view. Cooperation
model and contract was set up with the selected company.
- Training of over 8000 employees of the Nokia Care Centers and Branded Retail Stores
was done so that they could engage consumers on mobile phone recycling.
- A SMS based solution was developed to make it easier for consumers to identify the
nearest location of recycling points.
After setting up the infrastructure, the recycling program was launched as a pilot in four
cities - Bangalore, Delhi, Gurgaon and Ludhiana for a period of 40 days in 2009. The aim of
the program was to make recycling easy and to raise consumer awareness. A key challenge
during the launch was overcoming the skepticism of the trade partners and retailers. The
trade partners believed that Indian consumers were not yet ready for recycling. In the
second phase the program was expanded to cover an additional 28 cities. Different
marketing methods were used to get more publicity. Roadshows were run at shopping
malls and in the main markets. Billboards, radio and print media were also used in
advertising together with Bollywood celebrities.
An incentive was added to the recycling program to get people more involved. Nokia
committed to plant a tree for every phone dropped for recycling during the specified
campaign period. By using plantation of trees as a declared incentive, Nokia aimed to build
the right consumer attitude towards recycling wherein recycling is done for benefits to the
environment and society at large rather than for personal gains.
The recycling programs have received positive feedback and results. More than 50 tons of
old phones and accessories have been collected in India during the first 2.5 years of the
recycling program. The collection amount has been increasing every year showing the
importance of the long term planning of the recycling programs. The recycling message has
reached more than 100 million people across India via various marketing media. Until the
summer of 2011 Nokia has in return planted over 90.000 trees and planting continues.
Collection and recycling is now put into the agenda and will continue after the active
marketing campaigns.
The pilot campaign in India brought some insights on recycling behavior. An important
conclusion is that people will start recycling if they are provided the right information, and
it is easy for them to recycle. Cooperation in the collection efforts is also crucial as it was
noticed that trade partners are important in convincing the consumers and encouraging
them to recycle.
It was noticed in India that old mobile phones are used until no further value can be
extracted out of them. They are then kept as back-ups, handed over to others or sold or
Related links:

Your child’s first smartphone
The First Mobile Phone with a Built-In Camera
Mobile telephone history
Recycle Your Cell Phone
What to do with your old phones across Europe
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