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Victorian homes and offices targeted in major mobile phone recycling initiative

Posted December 9, 2005

With more than 12 million disused mobile phones cluttering people's homes and offices around Australia, a major initiative was launched today to help people "round 'em up and hand 'em" in for recycling.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) has introduced the MobileMuster program to provide mobile phone users with a simple and free recycling solution for unused mobile phone products.

Victorian Minister for the Environment, John Thwaites, has commended AMTA for its leadership in responding to community and government calls for an improved mobile phone recycling program.

"I now look forward to finalising a national agreement which includes robust targets with industry to ensure that high recycling rates are achieved and maintained," Mr Thwaites said.

More than 90 per cent of the materials in mobile phone handsets, batteries and accessories can be recycled and reused, saving valuable natural resources.

Graham Chalker, AMTA CEO said: "Materials like plastics, silver, gold and nickel can be extracted from mobile phone products and turned into everything from fence posts to jewellery.

"It is estimated that there is 1kg of gold contained in every 50,000 handsets. With more than 12 million disused phones lying around people's homes and offices this is a very sustainable way to extract gold and other precious metals," he said.

"We are urging people to recycle their old mobiles when they clean out their drawers and not put them in the rubbish bin.

"Mobile phones do not pose a huge environmental hazard, however, they are not biodegradable and should not end up in landfill. We need Australians to understand that by recycling their old mobile phones, batteries and accessories they are recovering resources and protecting the environment.

"Our goal is to boost community awareness, increase recycling volumes and decrease the number of mobiles going to waste. We want to treble our annual collections over the next three years from 60 tonnes to 180 tonnes per year. That's about 1 million handsets and batteries in 2008.

"With thousands of Australians likely to receive new mobile phones this Christmas, it is the perfect time for Australians to recycle their pre-loved phones, batteries and accessories at any one of the 1,000 plus mobile phone retail stores across Australia - just look for the MobileMuster logo.

"There are more MobileMuster collection points than McDonald's restaurants, making mobile phone recycling simple and easy."

Mr Chalker explained this is the only whole-of-industry e-waste recycling campaign of its kind in the world.

"We have received enormous support from nearly every mobile phone provider and manufacturer in Australia, demonstrating the industry's strong commitment to delivering long-term, environmentally-sustainable solutions".

Local businesses, schools and associations are also being invited to join the MobileMuster by running their own muster at work, school or in their local community.

To find your nearest MobileMuster collection point or to run your own MobileMuster visit www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070.

For further information please contact: Randal Markey AMTA 0421 240 550 randal.markey@amta.org.au

WAYS TO RECYCLE