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On average people change their phones every 18 months, even though phones are built to last several years. There are approximately 54 million mobile phone users within the UK, and about 77% of the population own at least one mobile phone.

Mobile phone 1

Mobile phone companies are doing a roaring trade and as consumers want the 'latest' phone, many in perfectly good condition get thrown away. As this is having an increasingly bigger impact on the environment, phone companies are going to be obligated under the WEEE Directive to recycle old phones.

Mobile phones contain metals such as gold, silver, copper, and palladium, and also contains hazardous materials such as cadmium, mercury and lithium. These end up in the landfills, and cadmium leaking out of a phone can pollute 600,000 litres of water.

Most handsets can now be re used or recycled. Many retail outlets and phone companies already have take back schemes in place, and this is free to the consumer. Many benefit charities. See the links at the bottom of the page if you want to recycle your old handset. Alternatively, you can always sell it on eBay!

Mobile phone

Funky Facts and Tips

* When charging your handset, switch it off first.
This helps extend the life of the battery

* Only 4% of mobile phones are recycled.

* 15 million mobile phones are discarded in the UK every year - if all of them went to landfill then it would create 7,500 tonnes of potential harmful waste!

* There are 1.5 billion mobile phone users worldwide.

* 105 million phones, standing one on top of another would be 342 times higher than Mount Everest. (Source: Fonebak).

Useful Links

To find your local Nokia handset recycler, check out:

For organisations thinking of offering a scheme check out:

For general mobile recycling schemes check out the links below:


Action Aid


Mobile phone 3

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