Despite record awareness of mobile phone recycling, Australians are still reluctant to part with old mobiles, according to a recent study by mobile phone recycling organisation, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).
A recent report, Australia’s Mobile Decade: 10 years of consumer insights into mobile phone use and recycling, claims the number of idle phones in Australian’s homes has increased from 12 million to over 22.5 million in the past decade.
AMTA mobile recycling program, MobileMuster, said in a statement that the need for responsible consumption and production, particularly within the consumables sector, is a growing concern globally.
It claimed this is evidenced by its inclusion in the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
MobileMuster recycling manager, Rose Read, said the behaviour represents a lost opportunity for reuse and recycling that enables materials to be put back into the supply chain, closing the loop, slowing the depletion of finite non-renewable resources and creating a circular economy.
“The research suggests that people still consider keeping their phone a better option than recycling even if it doesn’t work, will never be used and they know that it can be recycled. For many people keeping a phone is about having a backup and for more and more people it’s also about data security concerns. But in reality how many backups do you need?” she said.
Read added the challenge moving forward breaking consumers’ hoarding habits and closing the gap between use and recycling.
She questioned what can the industry can do to recover and reuse these materials more effectively in creating a more sustainable mobile telecommunications industry where finite non-renewable resources are used efficiently.
“How can the industry through technical innovations to enhance durability and upgradability, better data security, novel purchasing or service contracts, greater reuse of materials in new phones, break the hoarding cycle and close the loop on material use and increase resource efficiency?” she added.