Tele2, a Russian mobile operator, has summed up the interim results of the Remelting eco-project, thanks to which you can hand over your old phone for recycling. Since the launch in November 2020, 17 thousand devices have already been sent for recycling. The residents of the Volga region, the North-West and the Urals handed them over most actively.
The Remelting environmental project aims to encourage users to properly dispose of mobile devices and create an infrastructure for the collection and recycling of this category of waste. This is the first such project launched by a telecom operator. Old devices can be handed over in Tele2 stores in 145 cities of Russia. Since the launch of the project, Tele2 has sent 17,000 assembled devices for recycling with a total weight of 1.5 tons. Residents of the Volga region handed over most of the phones, residents of the North-West took the second place, and the Urals took the third place.
Tele2 sends all assembled devices to the Ecopolis Corporation, the only complex of plants in Russia for the disposal of waste electronic and electrical equipment. As a result of processing, up to 95% of the components of incoming raw materials are returned to production in the form of secondary materials. According to Ecopolis experts, 20 car hoods could be made from iron as part of the phones assembled as part of the Remelting, and 64 bumpers could be made from plastic.
To hand over an old phone for recycling, you need to bring it to one of the Tele2 stores participating in the promotion, fill out an agreement and lower the device into a special container. The model, brand and condition of the phone does not matter. Salon addresses can be found on the project website.
Mobile phones are classified as electronic waste. According to researchers at the University of Plymouth, the average smartphone contains 55g of plastic, 33g of iron, 13g of silicon, 7g of chromium and small amounts of other substances, including 90mg of silver and 36mg of gold. Once in soil or water, metals and their compounds accumulate to a certain concentration and become harmful to the environment and human health. First of all, these are chromium (contained in coatings), lithium (in a lithium-ion battery), lead and copper (in microcircuits).
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According to experts from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the share of mobile phones and other small gadgets in the total mass of electronic scrap is 8%. Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing physical waste streams. The volume of such waste generation at landfills in the CIS countries and Georgia in 2010–2020 increased by 50% and amounted to 8.7 kg per capita. The e-waste collection rate in Russia is very low at only 2.5%.
Denis Goleshchikhin, director of Tele2 Retail, said: “Studies show that more than half of consumers in Russia are willing to change their consumer habits if it reduces the negative impact on the environment. “Remelting” gives the inhabitants of Russia such an opportunity. Any user can return an old phone to one of our salons for further processing – it is not at all necessary to be a Tele2 client. To do this, we have created a convenient infrastructure: Tele2 has equipped hundreds of communication stores with special boxes for collecting used gadgets. We will continue to expand the geography of the project and include new cities so that mobile device users from different parts of the country can take care of the environment.”
Igor Sidorov, General Director of Ecopolis Corporation, noted: “In addition to creating a convenient infrastructure for the separate collection of used gadgets, our joint environmental project with Tele2 has an important educational value. According to a study conducted by our partner last year, 19% of the project participants did not previously know about the need to specifically dispose of used electronic equipment, but having learned about it, they are now ready to involve their acquaintances in the program. Therefore, we are confident that the number of people seeking to reduce the negative impact on the environment through the correct disposal of gadgets will only grow. In addition, such interaction between the population and large businesses is an excellent example of building an economic model of a closed cycle that complies with the principles of resource conservation. Now this is the main trend in the development of the economy around the world.”