100 Million Phones Sleep in our Drawers: Here is a Solution to Give Them Away

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Nearly 100 million mobile phones sleep in the drawers of the French, according to the organisation Ecosystem.

The eco-organization Ecosystem launches the site jedonnemontelephone.fr, a solidarity recycling solution to give new life to our old mobile phones.

We all have old mobile phones that sleeps in a drawer in the house. The very first, the one to which we are attached and which contains precious data, the one that we keep “just in case”, or just the one that we do not know how to get rid of.

In France, around 100 million mobile phones “sleep” in the drawers instead of being recycled, according to figures from Ecosystem, one of the three eco-organizations approved by the public authorities for the collection, depollution and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment.

In comparison with this figure, 24 to 26 million new devices are sold each year, in stores or on the Internet and often from abroad.

A free and united website

“This number of phones ‘in hibernation’ is a very important deposit for re-use and/or recycling”, explains to actu.fr Nathalie Yserd, deputy director of Ecosystem , who adds:

It is estimated that more than one telephone in two is still functional, therefore eligible for a second or even a third life.

To give these devices the possibility of recharging, Ecosystem has therefore launched the jedonnemontelephone.fr site , a free and inclusive solution .

The procedure is very simple: first, you have to identify yourself on the site, then you can either print a prepaid label and stick it on an envelope, or order a prepaid envelope which will arrive by mail. Finally, slip one or two phones into this envelope and place it in its mailbox, where it will be collected by La Poste.

Repaired, emptied and resold

The telephones are then sent to the Ateliers du bocage site, owned by the Emmaüs network, in the commune of Le Pin (Deux-Sèvres). There, they pass into the hands of people in professional integration who have been trained in the electronics, digital or logistics trades.

“If the devices are not reusable but recyclable, they are returned to Ecosystem where we reverse engineer them to recover certain materials, in particular rare metals,” explains Nathalie Yserd. If the phone can still work, it is repaired, emptied of its data, unlocked, cleaned and tested.

Finally, it is sold at a solidarity price on the online sales site of Ateliers du bocage, la-bootique.com , where there are also refurbished computer equipment.

A 100% reliable service according to Nathalie Yserd, who insists on one point:

“We offer a guarantee with this service because the Workshops have implemented a very strict protocol on the erasure of personal data. This data issue worries people and often discourages them from giving their phones.”

11.4 kg of waste per capita collected in 2019

The jedonnemontelephone.fr site was launched at the end of 2019, but Ecosystem is just starting to promote it. However, it has already met with some success: “in a few weeks, we welcomed 25,000 unique visitors and recovered around 1,300 phones, with an average of 2.25 phones per envelope”.

Encouraging beginnings which, if confirmed, could be added to the 11.4 kg of electrical and electronic waste per inhabitant collected in 2019 by Ecosystem (i.e. a total of 604,000 tonnes of waste).

What is Ecosystem? 
Ecosystem is a non-profit eco-organization approved by the public authorities for the collection, depollution and recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for households, professionals (WEEE pro), lamps and small fire extinguishers . It was created in 2006 and is present throughout France. Among the objects frequently collected: fridges, washing machines, telephones, televisions, toys, drills …
To donate an electric or electronic object to one of the 12,000 collection points in the territory, several solutions: drop it off at a recycling center, turn to a distributor, or make a donation to a player in the social and solidarity economy (ESS) such as Emmaüs or the Envie network. Ecosystem.eco websitemakes it easy to find a collection point using geolocation. Before donating an object, it is advisable to remove the batteries or the battery and place them in a dedicated bin.
In 2019, Ecosystem collected 604,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste (and 44,000 tonnes were donated to the ESS), with an increase of 5% compared to the previous year. 

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