INNOVATION

Have An Old Mobile Hanging Around? Turn It Into A Meal For Those In Need

60,000 unwanted phones = 60,000 meals for those who need it most.

12/12/2016 7:01 AM AEDT | Updated 12/12/2016 7:42 PM AEDT

Many people don't know what to do with their old mobile phones, leaving them hidden away unwanted and unused. There's an Australian initiative seeking to get people to recycle these items, for an important cause.

The campaign is called Mobile For A Meal and for every old phone recycled with the program, a meal will be given to an Australian in need. What could be a better trade?

Electronic waste is becoming an increasing issue for Australia, with a massive 25 million unused handsets estimated to be sitting around gathering dust that could be recycled.

For every phone recycled with mobile recycling company MobileMuster, they will donate the value of a meal to OzHarvest, helping them feed Australians who need it most.

"While old mobile phones and food waste are typically unconnected, we've come together as we can see there's a great opportunity here to take on these two big waste issues with one action," Spyro Kalos, Recycling Manager for MobileMuster told The Huffington Post Australia.

OzHarvest/MobileMuster

"So by simply recycling your old mobile, not only will you be giving the environment a helping hand, but you will also be helping someone in need locally," he said.

OzHarvest is the partner organisation, they're a perishable food rescue not-for-profit that seeks to combat the excessive amount of food waste in Australia.

They collect excess food from commercial outlets and deliver it to charities, combating Australia's food waste problem and helping those in need.

"We know Australians waste around $10 billion dollars of food each year, that's almost four million tonnes of food ending up in landfill. Good food should not go to waste when there are still so many hungry people," Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest founder and CEO said.

OzHarvest/MobileMuster
Got some of these just lying around?

The two causes have come together, allowing Australians to not only tackle food wastage problems to also e-waste as well -- allowing those old phones to take on a new life.

"MobileMuster accepts all brands of mobile phones along with their batteries, chargers and accessories, even the wireless mobile devices can be recycled," Kalos told HuffPost Australia.

"They don't need to be working, everything is recycled for resource recovery, we dismantle everything collected, and any data left on old mobiles is destroyed in the recycling process.

"Over 95% of the material in a mobile phone can be recovered and put back into making new products," he said.

MobileMuster

Kalos said that recycling 50,000 mobiles can replace the need to mine 244 tonnes of precious metal ore, meaning it will lessen the need to continually mine for these resources.

"Since MobileMuster started in 1998, the program has collected and recycled 1,244 tonnes of mobile phone components. That includes over 10 million handsets and batteries," he said.

"Overcoming Australia's hoarding behaviour to keep their old mobile "just in case" is a major barrier to recycling."

People with unused gadgets can simply drop them off with any accessories to the nearest mobile phone retail store or post to MobileMuster using a free recycling satchel from Australia Post.

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