A new report which was published by mobile phone network, O2 has revealed that 17 million old gadgets including mobile phones, SAT NAVs and MP3 players are not being recycled correctly every year and are ending up at Britain’s landfill sites.
If the 17 million unwanted gadgets were all sent in to a recycling site then it would generate a massive £762 million every year would would work out at £43.54 each for their owners.
Many of the electronic devices that are ending up at landfill have a circuit board, LCD screen and are battery powered. All these parts contain harmful materials like lead, cadmium and mercury which are hazardous both to ourselves and the environment.
In California there is now a law that stops anyone from putting mobile phones in the bin, all mobile manufacturers in the state must have a collection and recycling program for their old phones. Even though mobile phones and other electronic devices contain toxic materials it is not illegal to put them in the bin and send them straight to landfill.
In order to try and get some of the 17 million gadgets diverted away from landfill the third biggest recycling site in the country, O2 Recycle has set out their Think Big Blueprint. The Think Big Blueprint is a three year sustainability plan for people and the planet. Through three key goals and forty individual commitments O2 will use their understanding of digital technologies to build a more sustainable future for young people, O2 customers and the planet in which we all live.
Some of the main objectives that the Blueprint covers are:
- Halve emissions from their network by no longer providing chargers as standard with new mobile phones
- Reduce the volume of carbon emitted by the network by as much as 4 million tonnes per year
- Ensure all major suppliers take measure to reduce their environmental impact and increase their contributions in the community
- Help 10 million people live in more sustainable ways through O2’s products and services
- Save the NHS over 1 million hours of health care time
- Help 1 million young people develop skills for life in the UK
Chief Executive of O2, Ronan Dunne said “As a leading provider of digital services with over 22 million customers, we are in a unique position to use our understanding of technology to make sustainable living a reality.” He added “The Blueprint is an essential part of our long term business strategy which will enable us to encourage positive environmental change in the UK.”
O2 Recycle also hopes that in the future their recycling site will be able to expand to buy other electronic products such as tablet computers, laptops and speakers.