Cairns people have recycled a massive 261kg of old mobile phones, earning Cairns Regional Council the award for Queensland’s top collector in the MobileMuster Local Government Awards for the second year running.
Cairns beat its own record from last year, recycling an additional 100kg of mobile phones in 2020-21, and again taking out the Queensland award for top recycler.
Across Australia, it is estimated 24 million unused phones are stashed in drawers and cupboards.
The Cairns total of 261kg equates to 3513 recycled handsets and batteries, and represents an impressive stockpile of precious metals such as gold, copper, silver and palladium that have been stored in that third drawer down, and will now be recycled and re-used.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said Council had been involved in the MobileMuster national phone recycling program for more than 10 years.
“We are proud of our recycling achievements and thank the community and our staff for their commitment to community-based recycling programs like MobileMuster,” Cr Manning said.
Community members can drop in old or broken mobile phones to Council’s Customer Services Centre, library branches or transfer stations.
Cr Manning said phones were one small but important part of the city’s bigger recycling program.
“The newly-redeveloped $14.3 Material Recovery Facility has enabled Council to recover an additional 310 tonnes of recycling each month, improving the city’s recycling and recovery rate from 59% to 85% in 2021,” Cr Manning said.
“Recycling has many benefits, including reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill, protecting the environment and economic savings.”
As well as mobile phones, residents can bring their electronics, eligible televisions, computers, old tablets, audio/electrical cables and printer cartridges to Council’s transfer stations for free. Household batteries can also be recycled at transfer stations and through the libraries.
Everything collected by MobileMuster is recycled for the circular economy.
The program recovers 95 per cent of the material from old phones and accessories through advanced recycling, and uses it in the manufacture of new products.
Most of the metal, glass and plastic in phones is re-useable.