Mobile phone recycling musters a good response

Mobile phone recycling is going gangbusters, as the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) reported collection volumes has increased by 50 percent though retail channels.

Monthly collection averages grew from 1200 kilograms to 2300 kilograms in January. This equated to more than 11,500 mobile phone kits (consisting of one battery, handset and charger). AMTA aims to treble the annual collection rates over the next three years from 60 tons to 180 tons per year and halve the number going to landfill by 2008.

"It's a good response but it has to be an ongoing process," said Rose Read, manager of AMTA's national recycling program.

The program was launched in 1999, but was rebranded as MobileMuster late last year following surveys conducted by AMTA that found consumers were both unaware of the program and the need to recycle unused mobile phones.

"Our research showed that consumer awareness of the program was only at 46 percent," Read said. "Many people were holding onto their phones, unaware they could recycle them, or where."

Phones can be deposited at Optus, Telstra and Vodafone branded stores or service centers, as well as independent mobile phone retailers.