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NEW YEAR DUMPING OF OLD MOBILES CREATES HUGE POLLUTION PROBLEMS

Media Release 29 January, 2009

Millions of obsolete mobile phones will be dumped in landfill by the end of January as a result of the large numbers of new handsets that were purchased in the lead up to Christmas, Clean Up Australia said today.

More than 2.8 million new mobile phones were purchased in the three months before Christmas, however recycling rates are currently so low that nine out of 10 phones that have been replaced will end up in landfill, Clean Up Australia Chairman Ian Kiernan AO said.

“Less than four per cent of mobile phones are currently being recycled. This is a national embarrassment considering that 90 per cent of the raw materials used to make mobiles can be recycled,” Mr Kiernan said.

People can recycle their old mobile phones simply by requesting a Clean Up Mobile Phones Recycling Satchel, or a school or business can become an official Clean Up Australia mobile phone supporter and place a collection box in the foyer to support the recycling program.

Clean Up Australia receives $3.30 for every phone recycled, all funds contribute to the Clean Up Our Climate Campaign, helping to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment.

“Mobile phones are a major part of the worrying increase in electronic waste that is being created in Australia. It is the biggest waste challenge this country faces now and in the future and there is an urgent need for co-ordinated national approach to recycling e-waste.

“State and federal ministers must also work together to enact an effective, sustainable recycling system for mobile phones and other electronic items.”

Mobile phones contain toxic materials, including lead and mercury, which can cause immense environmental damage including contamination of groundwater.

It is estimated that between 12 and 16 million old mobile phones are also lying around Australian households, creating a hidden waste problem, Mr Kiernan said.

“A lot of people simply don’t know what to do with them but they can easily be recycled.”

To register now visit http://mobile.cleanup.org.au/register.html
Or for more information on mobile phones and Clean Up Australia campaigns visit www.cleanup.org.au

Media Enquiries:    Claire Johnston, 0434 489 533

 
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