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Got an Old Mobile Phone? No Problem…

May 2020 by Catherine McGinn

If you are anything like our team, you may well have spent some of your lockdown getting around to tidying cupboards and drawers that you’ve been meaning to get to for ages, but for which the time never before seemed available.

Once they open, charity shops are expecting an influx of donations as lockdown begins to ease, but in trying to dispose of household and business goods responsibly, what to do with all those old mobile phones? If your household is typical you will probably have a couple of now-defunct mobiles gathering dust in a drawer and you may well have old laptops and even tablets that no longer work or are just obsolete and waiting for you to figure out how to dispose of them safely. As businesses upgrade equipment to support greater distance working, a new mountain of obsolete business equipment is now being generated.

One issue with recycling phones and IT equipment is that they may still contain stored information and data which could theoretically be accessed and pose a security risk. Another is that simply throwing electronic equipment in domestic waste is potentially polluting whether it is landfilled or incinerated and for commercial organisations, potentially illegal with appropriate waste transfer notices. However, most of us are reluctant to throw electronic goods away anyway, as we are aware that they contain valuable rare-earth metals that if extracted can be re-used, reducing harmful mining for minerals in the developing world, and saving energy, resources and a potentially massive environmental impact in their extraction and manufacture.

In our team, we are all working at home until we can return to working safely in our office. But whilst isolated, we have been gathering our different old electronic goods and setting them to one side so that when we come back together, we can box them up and dispatch them en masse to Carbon Literacy partner ICT Reverse.

Based in Lancaster in the North of England, ICT Reverse handles millions of phones, tablets, laptops and even desktop computers and servers, and in an entirely secure and traceable way, securely wipes them, and strips them down for reuse in whole or in parts, or failing that the recycling of their metals and other materials.

Almost nothing goes to waste or landfill, and, even better; when you are introduced as a partner of The Carbon Literacy Project, the waste disposal service is entirely free for both personal and commercial waste, (with item by item legal confirmation of wiping, traceability and waste transfer notices) and half of any income generated from your donation is shared with our parent charity The Carbon Literacy Trust, to support our work and the advancement of Carbon Literacy nationally.

If you are within reach of our Manchester-based office, sort out your old phones and electronic waste now, and once safe to do so, if you would like to bring in your old phones and tablets, we will box everything we have collected up for you, and ship it to ICT on your behalf. Alternatively, if you are a little further away or have larger volumes equipment, if you drop us a line, we can arrange for either free-post envelopes for phones, or for all larger amounts of IT equipment we can connect you with the folks at ICT Reverse, who can arrange collection by courier and in the case of organisational disposal even arrange for large amounts of equipment to be palletised and shipped directly from your premises.

So – use what remains of your lockdown time usefully!

1: If you are close to Manchester, sort out your kit and drop us a line and we can arrange for you to drop it off.

2: If you are further away, but anywhere else in mainland UK, drop us a line and we can arrange for shipping and collection of larger amounts of equipment

In either case, now is a good moment to sort out and get rid of your old it clutter, ensure it is recycled safely and securely at no cost to you, and support an environmental charity at the same time!

For more information drop us an email headed “ICT recycling” to info@carbonliteracy.com


Frequently Asked Questions

What does ICT Reverse do?

ICT Reverse is a company based outside Lancaster that offers an IT recycling service to dispose of old, unwanted or damaged electronic devices including laptops, computers, mobile phones, tablets and various office equipment such as printers, photocopiers, servers and other various devices. With the relevant permits and licenses held by ICT Reverse, they have the ability to securely collect and dispose responsibly of any redundant IT equipment.

What can I recycle?

You can check out this link for a full list of devices that can be recycled, but contact us directly if you want to benefit from the free service for commercial organisations as this is only free if you are introduced by The Carbon Literacy Project.

What about Data Security?

ICT Reverse provides safe reversal logistics and data erasing services through holding the relevant industry accreditations including ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, following strict requirements around IT disposal and erasure of data. Client contracts include many organisations storing sensitive data including the NHS, the military and the banking sector.

The waste and carbon footprint of waste electronics is often overlooked, and ICT Reverse is fully committed to sustainability and reducing environmental impact in the IT industry, and to recycling IT equipment in an eco-friendly way. To do so, they take the devices and separate the different materials; glass screens, metal compartments, circuit boards and plastic hardware, which are then disposed of and recycled in an environmentally friendly manner.

What about Human Rights?

There are many ethical and human rights issues involved with the sourcing and processing of the metals used in the creation of mobile phones and other devices. Thousands of children in developing countries are forced to work in inhuman conditions to mine for metals such as cobalt and copper, which are used to manufacture the everyday devices we use. Recusing and recycling what we have already manufactured makes a really meaningful contribution to reducing this.

How does it work?

Whether you are getting rid of your own personal devices or electronics from a commercial setting, ICT Reverse makes it as simple as possible for you to dispose responsibly of your waste electronics. For small loads, you can box up your items, get an online code and have a courier come to pick up your parcel. For larger loads, a lorry will arrive to collect your unwanted or damaged devices.

ICT Reverse offers collection services not only in the UK, but devices can be collected across Europe. However if you are based in and around Manchester and are interested in recycling small volumes of devices, you can drop them off in our office when it is safe to do so, and we can take it from there, just contact us first.

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