Launceston residents have recycled more than 300 old mobile phones at the Town Hall’s recycling hub over the past 12 months, weighing a total of more than 35kg.
As a result, the City of Launceston has received Tasmania’s Top Recycler Award in Mobile Muster’s 2020 Awards for the recycling of mobile phone components. The Council has collected old electronics for recycling at the Town Hall for several years.
However, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said it was last year’s upgrade of the building’s dedicated recycling collection point — from a cardboard box to a purpose built storage unit — that had resulted in big increases to the amount of recycling collected.
“The Recycling Hub we installed last September has opened up new recycling streams that aren’t available through the kerbside collection service, and it has proven much more popular than we could have hoped,” Mayor van Zetten said.
“It’s a free service which allows people to bring in recyclable items like batteries, eyeglasses, plastic bread tags, toothbrushes and even CDs and DVDs for recycling.
The City of Launceston’s Sustainability Team Leader Michael Attard said mobile phones contained a number of valuable precious metals — like as gold, silver and copper — which could be recovered and used to manufacture new products.
“For example, the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics are producing the gold, silver and bronze medals from 6.21 million donated mobile phones and other electronics,” Mr Attard said.
“We all have an old mobile phone in a drawer somewhere — in fact, it’s estimated that there are more than 23 million unused phones stored in people’s houses across Australia.
“But only about 12% of mobile phones are recycled, which shows there are clear opportunities for us all to improve. I think that the issue for people — myself included — is that there is a perceived personal value linked to that old phone in the drawer that we find difficult to let go of.”
“This is a great reminder to actually take that next step and bring that old phone and other recyclable items to the Recycling Hub here at the Town Hall.
“What we see in terms of recycled mobile phones is all the technology hits from yesteryear — from the giant bricks of the late 1990s, to the flip phones of the early 2000s through to the very first smartphones.
“It’s been a bit of fun to see all the different models that have been collected and to see how far technology has come in just a few short years.”