We are a nation addicted to technology -- as one of the biggest users of mobile phones in the world -- our population of 22 million has 24 million mobile phone accounts -- we happily fork out big dollars for the latest gadget. But finally that obsession can earn you some cash back.
Aid Rawlins from Mazuma Mobile wants your unused mobile phones and he's on track to pay out $5 million for them between now and Christmas. "Handsets are then processed and re-homed in developing countries like Africa, India and China where they can't afford new handsets. We're a business and we make a small margin on every handset", Aid said.
Here's how it works: Grab your old mobile, log on to the website, find the right make and model, obtain a quote, send it off .... and, as they say, the cheque's in the mail.
21 year old Dean Vance found a dust covered gold mine in his lounge room drawer. "When you've got family members that upgrade their phones every 24 months, I think altogether we had about four or five phones that were just sitting there not used. Mum was going to throw them out about a week beforehand", Dean said.
If you've already tired of the Apple iPhone 4, you could be $650 richer. If it's not in working order, you'll still boost your bank account by $250. For a NOKIA 3120 Classic there's $22 to be had and if it's not working, $10; an old Sony Ericsson T707 is worth $27, half that if it's not working and you can cash your Blackberry 8900 Curve in for $100, $35 if it's broken.
The concept of giving old phones new life began in Britain four years ago. "We process something like 160,000 handsets a month in the UK. We've paid out over 68 million pounds which is the equivalent of $115 - $118 million Aussie -- it's phenomenal", Aid said.
If you're thinking offering money for mobiles could encourage crime, Aid has this to say. "We make sure they haven't appeared on a lost or stolen register and we do offer people a data deletion process so they can delete images and text messages".
You'll also have to provide your drivers licence details.
Programs like Mobile Muster have recycled 5 million handsets and batteries over a decade and while there's no payment, Rose Read from the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association says programs like hers are the most environmentally friendly. "Over 90% of the materials in mobile phones can be
Mobile Buybacks continued..
recovered and reused to make new products. These commercial programs are about making money and while they are providing cheaper phones into developing countries, there's a greater risk those phones may end up in landfill", Rose said.
Rose turns mobile phones into plastic fence posts and don't be surprised if your bling used to have a ring. Phones have been turned into designer earrings, ring, even cuff links. It's never too late to recycle.
So if your phone has nothing left to give, Mazuma will send it off to claim those valuable parts and since launching just a couple of weeks ago, it looks like most of the country has been rifling through their kitchen drawers.
Despite the fact we hoard millions of mobiles "just in case", more than 9 million new phones arrive in the country every year.
More details on those recycling programs are as follows:
Mazuama Mobile's website at: www.mazumamobile.com.au
For MOBILE MUSTER
Drop your phone off at your mobile phone retailer / local collection point. To find locations, visit the website at: www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070
Also, post them in by picking up a free MobileMuster recycling satchel from Australia Post Post them in by printing off a reply paid mailing label from www.mobilemuster.com.au