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What are you doing with your old mobile phone?

Date: 27-Mar-20
Author: Rachael Ridley

Pile of mobile phones © Rachael Ridley

Mobile phones are invaluable at the moment as our need to connect with work, family, friends and the latest news increases. However, there are millions of phones stashed away in drawers not being used. MobileMuster, Australia’s government-accredited mobile phone recycling program, estimates that Australians are stockpiling 25 million mobile phones – one for every member of the population. It’s time to either reuse or recycle these phones so they don’t go to waste.

Why should we recycle mobile phones over storing them?

Mobile phones are full of materials that our planet has a limited resource of, such as gold, silver, copper, aluminium, nickel and lithium. Extracting and processing these materials for new phones via mining requires a significant amount of energy. To date, MobileMuster has recycled over 1,500 tonnes of mobile phones and accessories, including 14 million handsets and batteries, saving an estimated 5,152 tonnes of CO2  emissions and conserving 28,000 tonnes of mineral resources.

How do I recycle my old phone?

MobileMuster accepts old phones for recycling for free! Workplaces can register for a recycling unit to make it easy for workers to drop off their old phones. There are also 3,500 collection points around the country that accept any brand of mobile phone and all accessories. To find your closest location, visit RecyclingNearYou.

As some collection points are currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, MobileMuster also offers a free mailing label or satchel. Businesses or consumers can use our free mailing label and post back their old mobile phones and accessories at any AusPost box.

What happens to my phone when I recycle it?

MobileMuster will dismantle the phone and process the components to maximize recovery rates. The program is accredited by the Federal Government, so you can be sure that your old mobile phone will be recycled in an environmentally responsible manner. The program recovers more than 95% of the material from old phones and accessories, which are then used in the manufacturing of new products.

What about my data?

Don’t let the data on your mobile stop you from recycling or rehoming your mobile phone. Check out MobileMuster’s ‘how-to’ videos that take you through the steps of how to delete the data from your Android or iPhone.

Not ready to recycle it? Think about rehoming it!

Here are three simple ways you can reuse your mobile:
1. Sell it – this is a great way to recover some of the initial cost of buying the device. Selling the device within the first two years will recoup the greatest amount of value. After four years, the value of old mobiles drops significantly.
2. Pass it onto a friend or family member – this generous act is a great way to extend the life of your old phone.
3. Trade it in – if you’re looking at upgrading your handset, you might be able to trade your old phone in with your network provider. This is a great way of making some money that you can put towards your new phone or monthly phone bill.

Positive Actions


Rachael                                           Ridley
Author: Rachael Ridley

Rachael joined Planet Ark in 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael is excited to use her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change.