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Recycling matters!

Mobile phone recycling facilitates the reuse of unwanted handsets that are still operational, by selling them for refurbishment and re-sale overseas; reducing the demand for new handsets, and the associated environmental impacts of their manufacture. By providing this form of environmentally responsible recycling, we divert the phones and accessories away from landfill. 

Phones which are not suitable to be refurbished are stripped for parts, and reusable materials (such as gold) are recovered, that can be used to create other products.

Recycling your phone saves valuable materials and energy while helping to look after New Zealand’s waterways.

Sustainable Coastlines, a multi-award winning New Zealand charity, has partnered with RE:MOBILE to collect and recycle used mobile phones. The proceeds from these mobiles help plant trees alongside our waterways to restore habitats for native animals, reduce sediment and improve water quality.


Process overview

RE:MOBILE phone recycling process diagram


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Step 1: Sorting

TCF's mobile phone recycling partner – Swapkit collects and sorts phones into those that can be reused and those which are end of life.

Where possible:

  • all memory and SIM cards are removed from donated handsets.
  • all working handsets have data removed and a factory reset performed, restoring the handset to its original manufacturer's settings.
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Step 2: End of life phones

End of life phones are sent to our recycling partners - Zero Waste NZ or SIMs Recycling - who ship them to Japan for breakdown and recovery of component materials.

Batteries, charges and accessories are also broken down for component material recovery.

We only work with overseas smelters who have credible environmental management systems in place.
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Step 3: Reusable phones

Mobile phones in working order are sold by tender to offshore businesses that specialise in the re-sale of second hand mobile phones.

Handsets are refurbished and sold as low-cost mobile phones into emerging markets such as Hong Kong, China and Eastern Europe.

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Looking for something else?

Recycle a mobile phone

Learn how to recycle a mobile phone.

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For the latest mobile phone recycling news

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Last Modified On Wednesday, 24 January 2018