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Turn Your Mobile Phone into a Fence Post...or a Frog Pond!

mobile phone use is very widespread
It's great having mobile phones....but when they don't work anymore, do you just throw them in the bin or do you, like us, have a few lurking in drawers at home?

Apparently there's estimated to be around 16 million mobile phones sitting in offices and homes that aren't being used - with 4 million no longer working.

The batteries in mobile phones contain components made of nickel, cadmium, lead and cobalt, which can be very dangerous to the environment if dumped into landfill. Not only that, but these are non-renewable resources which can be re-used.

Over 90% of the materials in mobile phones can be re-used to make new products, such as jewellery, stainless steel, batteries, plastic fence posts and pallets. According to the mobile phone industry, you can recover the same amount of gold from 50,000 handsets as from mining 110 tonnes of gold ore! (gold ore is rock and quartz that contains some pure gold).

Have a look on the website of your local council and find out where to drop them off or, even better if you live in Australia, log onto:
Here you will find brilliant information about what they do with the phones and where to drop them off...there's loads of locations. You just type in your postcode and it tells you. How easy is that?
If you go to this website, you can ask for a special envelope to be sent to you. You then just pop your phones in the bag and post it off to them. Clean-up Australia then gets a donation from ARP (Aussie Recycling Program).

Or best of all (we think!)...The Planet Patrol Mobile Phone Recycling Scheme
If you live in the Hills District, you can send us an email: and we will tell you the drop off points in the area to give your phone to us. We are going to organise through ARP to get some recycled. The money we raise will go towards beautifying our school with plants, flowers and outdoor art work done by our students. This will make it a much nicer place to study in as it's mostly plain concrete. Any extra money we will use to build a frog pond and wetland that really is a great thing to turn your phone into!

Look out for mobilemuster tubes
Mobile Muster, which is run by the mobile phone industry, has come into criticism over it's scheme saying that it's just not successful. That's why members of the public need to go into mobile phone stores and ask "what recycling facilities do you have?". In Switzerland, every product bought is returned back to the store which is then responsible for disposing of it responsibly. Have you been to Switzerland? It's my favourite country (& Austria), it's so clean and efficient. Everyone uses public transport - which is clean and always exactly on time, and are very polite to each other. We should all aim to be a bit more Swiss...oh, and they make THE BEST chocolate in the world!

a mobile phone that biodegrades
into sunflower seeds
The best idea we've seen is a mobile phone which biodegrades into a sunflower seed...not quite at the 'ready to sell' stage yet, but we hope they continue working on it.

Fun Facts about Mobile Phones:

  • If you placed 105 million phones one in front of the other they would travel from London to Paris almost 43 times.

  • 105 million phones, standing one on top of another, would be 342 times higher than Mount Everest.

  • 8.8 million phones were sold in Australia in 2006

  • 23 million new mobile phones were purchased in the UK in 2004

  • It is expected that one billion handsets will be sold each year by 2009

  • The average mobile phone user will replace their handset once every 18 months.

  • Estimates state that close to 90 million phones are hiding in drawers and cupboards across the UK (11250 tonnes) - these weigh almost six times as much as the London Eye!

By Imogen Wadlow

What can we do?
Log onto these sites and get your phones to them:

For Australia:
Mobile Muster -

For the UK:
Recycling Appeal -

Remember the three R's. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.

Information sourced from: The Age; Mobile Phone Industry 'pathetic' on recycling, L.Minchin, 31.7.07

Images: Virginmobile: Mobilemuster: Dvorak Uncensored: 24hourmuseum.