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Mobile phone recycling gains traction in US

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - 16:00:42

America is home to one of the world's biggest mobile markets, but in order to make this state of affairs more sustainable from an environmental perspective, much work needs to be done to encourage consumers to recycle unwanted handsets.

This month new figures show that the US is becoming collectively more responsible for how it disposes of its electronic waste, as mobile phone recycling provider, ecoATM, revealed that over two million old gadgets have been handled by its service since it launched four years ago.

It hit the one million recycled handsets mark last spring, so to have doubled this in just 12 months shows that more Americans are aware of the need to recycle old phones, rather than sending them to landfill.

As the name suggests, ecoATM is not just about recycling in exchange for a sense of satisfaction alone; it also pays out to people who pass on their old phones, so that there is an incentive to get rid of devices responsibly.

A total of 800 ecoATM kiosks have been rolled out across the US, so while its penetration may not be that significant, it is clear that there is a desire amongst the public to sell old phones, rather than chucking them in the bin.

For people in the UK, it is easy to sell an old phone online, since the recycling market is relatively mature and there are plenty of providers who will offer good money for handsets that are no longer needed.

Just one in 20 old mobiles in the US is recycled at the moment, according to ecoATM spokesperson, Mark Bowles. And while the UK may be doing better on this front, there is always room for improvement, especially as network providers are working to encourage earlier and earlier upgrades.




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