Electronics Waste: Recycling of Mobile Phones
Post-Consumer Waste Recycling and Optimal Production
through education, by building awareness that old mobile phones can be recycled, and
highlighting both the environmental and personal gains associated with this. It must also be
noted, that recycling amounts of e-waste are still quite low because recycling infrastructure
for e-waste is not yet mature or easily available in most countries. Legislative frameworks
are also important to foster this development.
Fig. 10. Reasons for not recycling last mobile phone (Nokia, 2011b)
The more opportunities people are presented with, and the more convenient it is, the more
likely people are to recycle their mobile phone. Even though people feel positive towards
recycling campaigns, the underlying questions “how much effort do I have to make?” and
“what’s in it for me?” are typically noted. More mobile phone recycling may be encouraged
by seeing this as a transaction in which consumer’s effort (and the value of the phone) is
traded for a benefit, an incentive, that can be a soft (emotional) or hard (financial) one. This
especially encourages first time recyclers into action. Through all markets the biggest
interest is expressed in exchanging an old phone for discount for new handsets, and this is
being followed by more altruistic initiatives such as making a donation to an environmental
The results of the consumer survey showing that awareness and phone hoarding are the
main barriers for not recycling has lead into the development of the Nokia recycling
program “3 steps to recycle”. In this digital program simple answers are given to people on
how and where to recycle. These include a 3 step program with the relevant information
that phone can be recycled and how the data can be saved followed by map showing the
locations of the recycling points. As noted previously one of the main reasons not to recycle
is an emotional attachment to an old mobile. It is quite common that people like to store the
old devices as there are so many precious memories attached to them. To tackle this
recycling obstacle Nokia started a recycling campaign in Twitter, called “I#recycling”. The
Related links:

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