Boom in mobile phone recycling as UK’s top 10 ‘hotspots’ revealed



  • Recycling boss calls for greater education to increase numbers
  • Calls on mobile phone companies to assist in getting 50 per cent of handsets recycled
Photo supplied by Rapid Phone Buyer

Battered and broken mobile phones are being given a fresh lease of life thanks to a boom in recycling.

Having previously been destined for the tip, more mobile phones are returning to the market as mobile phone recycling companies like Rapid Phone Buyer purchase the unwanted models and either repair them or use the parts to fix up other phones, which are then sold to the wholesale market for resale.

In the past two years the online business which has sent trade packs to more than 25000 customers in last 2 years, however, it remains just a small amount considering there are more than 79 million phones in use in the UK according to a report by statista (2019) and that consumers upgrade their mobiles on average every 19 months.

Refurbishing old models also has wider environmental benefits as researchers at McMaster University in Canada claimed last year that manufacturing a new smartphone used 85-95 percent of the device’s CO2 output over a two-year lifecycle because of the requirements in mining the raw materials.

Hameed Baig, operations manager at Rapid Phone Buyer, said: “There is a need to educate people about getting their mobile phones recycled. Many consumers are scared that their data will be hacked but by using manufacturers guidelines every mobile phone can be set back to factory settings without any chance of getting the data restored.

“Although mobile phone recycling is increasing it still requires more to be done. There should be a target and mobile phone manufacturers should be assisting so that at least 50 per cent of mobile phones sold are recycled.”

The Hull-based company has used its data to compile the top 10 recycling ‘hotspots’ across the UK.

Unsurprisingly London is the top location for recycling phones with more than 2,100 consumers using their service, however York is a surprising second with more than 1,300 phones sent in followed by Manchester in third with more than 700.

Major population centres Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Derby, Leicester and Leeds make up the rest of the top 10.

Top 10 Mobile Phone Recycling cities (data from Rapid Phone Buyer purchases)

  1.   London               8.56%
  2.   York                    5.37%
  3.   Manchester       3.00%
  4.   Nottingham       1.98%
  5.   Bristol                 1.74%
  6.   Glasgow              1.64%
  7.   Derby                  1.54%
  8.   Leicester             1.53%
  9.   Birmingham       1.26%
  10.   Leeds                   1.12%

Almost 28% of the devices received were from 10 major cities.


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