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Mobile phone recycling scheme raises funds for waterways



New Zealand waterways will now be better off as a result of tens of thousands of mobile phones recycled each year through the RE:MOBILE mobile phone recycling scheme.

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) has appointed Sustainable Coastlines as the new beneficiary of its accredited mobile phone product stewardship scheme, RE:MOBILE.

The collection and recycling of disused mobile phone handsets via the RE:MOBILE scheme generates revenue, which provides an opportunity to make a donation to a registered charity.

“We are delighted to partner with the award-winning charity, Sustainable Coastlines. Sustainable Coastlines was a clear choice for the REMOBILE scheme when we were looking for a new beneficiary to work with. It has an innovative approach to protecting the environment and this aligns well with our objectives for RE:MOBILE,” says TCF CEO, Geoff Thorn.

“Technology is changing rapidly and new devices are coming on stream constantly. The New Zealand telecommunications sector believes it has a responsibility to help prevent unused handsets ending up in landfills and the industry-led RE:MOBILE scheme has been designed for this purpose. Approximately 95 percent of the phones can be given a new lease of life or have their components recycled,” says Geoff Thorn. “Recycling collection bins are available in the mobile operators’ stores as well as a selection of businesses, schools and council offices. Look for the RE:MOBILE logo, and now, the Sustainable Coastlines logo, on our mobile phone collection bins.”

Scheme recycling agent Swapkit New Zealand collects and sorts the phones into those which can be re-used and those which are end-of-life. Reusable phones are sold by tender overseas while end–of–life phones are deconstructed, commoditised and their components used to create other products.

“Sustainable Coastlines is proud to partner with this fantastic scheme which provides critical funding for the delivery of the Love Your Water programme. Together through this new partnership we will reduce waste sent to landfills, save valuable materials and energy, and help to look after New Zealand’s waterways, says Sustainable Coastlines Co-Founder and CEO, Sam Judd.

“With 69% of New Zealand’s rivers deemed unsafe for swimming after rainfall due to contamination, this is important work. We have a long-term vision of beautiful beaches, healthy waters and inspired people and the proceeds from the RE:MOBILE scheme will help tremendously,” says Judd.

This partnership was launched on Monday 9 May at The Flagship Sustainable Coastlines Education Hub in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter.



Facts and figures:

  • One million+ phones have been donated since mobile phone recycling began in 2009.
  • $2.5M+ has been raised for New Zealand Charities from the proceeds of unwanted mobile phones since 2009.
  • 69% of rivers in New Zealand are unsafe for swimming/recreation after rainfall because of contamination.
  • RE:MOBILE was accredited by the Minister for the Environment under the Waste Minimisation Act on 8 July 2014.

What is RE:MOBILE?

This recycling programme provides New Zealanders with an environmentally friendly disposal option for their unwanted mobile phone handsets. Our aim is to raise awareness and change consumer behaviour around responsible disposal of e-waste. The nationwide programme is supported by TCF members; 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone. Unwanted phones are accepted at any scheme member stores or using provided envelopes. The telecommunications industry is committed to responsible management of e-waste. 

About the TCF

The New Zealand Telecommunications Forum (TCF) was established in 2002. It plays a vital role in the telecommunications industry, collaboratively developing key industry standards and codes of practice that underpin the country’s digital economy. Our objective is to actively foster cooperation among the telecommunications industry’s participants, to enable the efficient provision of regulated and non-regulated telecommunications services.

TCF Members include: 2degrees, AWACS, Chorus, Compass Communications, DTS, Enable Networks, Kordia, M2Group, Northpower Fibre, NOW, Spark, Symbio Wholesale NZ, TrustPower, Ultrafast Fibre, UnisonFibre, Vector Communications and Vodafone. Huawei are General Associate members.

Find out more through the TCF website here.