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T-Mo recycling UK phones

UK carrier T-Mobile is launching a handset recycling scheme that aims to monetise the millions of unused mobile phones in the country.

The operator released a study on Tuesday – conducted in conjunction with MORI IPSO – which claims that UK mobile users have £1bn in old mobile phones lying unused.

There are 52.3 million discarded mobile phones in the homes and offices of the UK’s 37 million mobile users, the carrier said, which could be cashed in, either for charity or for personal gain.

T-Mobile is offering all UK mobile customers, irrespective of their network, the opportunity to pick up a freepost envelope from one of its stores that can be used to post unwanted handsets to the company. These terminals will either be reconditioned for distribution in emerging markets, or broken down and recycled. The carrier is offering an incentive of up to £80, which can be claimed by the individual or donated to a nominated charity.

Devine Kofiloto, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media commented: “With a stockpile over 52 million handsets sitting redundant at home, there is an opportunity for all mobile phone owners to get their share of this £1 billion. The issue of mobile phone recycling has been discussed across the industry for several years – now is the time for people to realise that they can do their bit and raise money either for charity or themselves at the same time.”

Jim Hyde, T-Mobile UK’s CEO, commented: “The great thing about this scheme is that you don’t have to give something up to do something good. Anyone can put their old phone in our freepost bag and reduce waste and make money, either for charity or themselves, as part of the process.”

If the value of the UK’s unused handsets were to be unlocked, the firm said, the amount of money generated could be used to double the GDP of Eritrea, or to plant 3.4 billion trees in developing nations.

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