Sunday, 7 March 2010

A Mobile Quandary, Part 3

I have committed an evil deed.

Over the last few weeks I have been conducting an internal argument with myself over the ethical and environmental considerations of replacing my mobile phone: a mobile quandary, and a mobile quandary, part two. Tragically, this weekend temptation got the better of me, and I am the guilty new owner of a posh touch screen phone. I know, I’m sorry, but it was just so much prettier than the eco version. I’m bad. Very bad.

Out with the Old
But what to do with my old phone now that it’s life with me is at an end? I don’t like throwing away what is essentially still a usable piece of technology, never mind the hideous impact such an act is likely to have on the environment.

Anybody who watches TV on a frequent basis is bound to have seen one of the many adverts that seem to be being constantly rolled out on how to exchange your old phone for money. I’ve got to admit this is tempting. Firstly, though, I don’t think any of the phones I’ve got kicking around in my drawers are going to be worth that much. Secondly, what do they do with them? I suppose they must reuse the parts somehow, otherwise their business wouldn’t exactly be a viable one. A second option could be to send the phone back to the original manufacturer, though the latter question applies here too. And – stingy as I am – I’m not too keen on the idea of enabling this wealthy multinational company to make even more money.

Mud Between Your Toes
No, I’ve decided: if I’m going to be bad and get a new phone, the least I can do is try to enable someone less well off than myself to benefit, rather than the other way around. So I’m going to send my old phone, and the others I’ve been saving up over the years, to the Eden Project. They’ve teamed up with an initiative called Corporate Mobile Recycling (CMR) to recycle phones and convert the money received for them into donations for environmental causes, specifically Mud Between Your Toes, an educational programme designed to get children out of their houses and exploring the natural environment. Actually, I’ve got a suspicion that this programme is run by my MA cohort, Philip Waters. Go Philip.

Here is what CMR actually do with the phones they receive. Though I wonder how I can get my hands on one of these reused phones? I don’t recall having ever seen them in the shops.

And if you’re not too sure about Mud Between Your Toes, there are plenty of other charities who would like to recycle your phone as well, from Oxfam to the Woodland trust.

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