Monday, 9 January 2012

Where will it end up? Tracking my mobile with O2 Recycle

Look! That's my scared face, which says, "I don't really want to let go of this phone, but now I'm here and I promised I'd do it, I suppose I'm going to have to let you take it."

Have you ever recycled a mobile phone? 

I hadn't until today, despite having owned six of the things ever since I got my very first phone in 1998.  Look, it was such a momentous occasion back then, we even captured it on camera!  It was so big, I almost needed two hands to hold it up my ear!

Christmas morning, 1998. I'd never wear that dressing gown with FaceTime!

It's sad to think that phone is still packed away somewhere in my loft.  When recovered, it will be like an historic artefact from the days when phones were phones, not the mini computer devices that they are now.  Even though I have no use for it, it will probably be very hard to give up.  You see, I really do get attached to my phones for all sorts of odd reasons, whether they remind me of a time when I had a cool job, or contained the recording of my toddler telling me he loved me, or even symbolise the day I jumped into a swimming pool to rescue my drowning four-year old, with my phone in my back pocket.

There is one phone that I've not particularly been attached to though and that's my Nokia N97.  It might have been great at getting me onto Twitter and Facebook and juggling my multi-media usage, but I haven't half given it a good battering these last few years. Its time was definitely up twelve months ago, not least because the back-end would fall off at impromptu moments, It's also developed several other features that are noteworthy of its early demise, including the semi-detatchment of its silver fascia as a result of recent contact with the floor.  Then there's the way it would suddenly reboot while I was surfing the mobile net.

However, if it hadn't been for a discussion with some friendly folk from O2, this phone would be sitting in the drawer that's now dedicated to out-of-date gadgets and electronic leads, while I enjoy my more up-to-date technology.

I'd explained to O2 that given my bizarre attachment to old devices, I would only ever recycle one of my phones if I could be convinced that it was worthwhile.  After all, I'd much rather keep it in a drawer than go to the trouble of stripping off the data, just for it to be taken apart.

They then reassured me that just because my phone looked like it was due for the scrapyard, that wasn't necessarily the case and that it would most likely be refurbished and sold on as a reconditioned device, probably in an overseas market.

Suddenly I was interested in finding out more.

I wanted to know exactly where my phone would end up.

And I wanted to know the story of who would be using it.

I asked O2 whether we could do that, and after some phone calls around head office and to their recycling company Redeem, they said yes.  We could certainly track my old Nokia to its end market and depending on the privacy wishes and language capabilities of the new owner, it may be possible to discover the other information too.

And that got me very excited.

So, with all my photos copied, contacts deleted and messages stripped, I skipped off to our local O2 store this morning to do the deed.  Well, I say I skipped.  Actually, for some reason, I was very nervous.  I wanted reassurance that no sensitive data, or remote access to my emails or online accounts could be retrieved from my old phone, once I handed it over. 

Glendon, the Store Leader, reassured me.  In fact, one of the first steps was to restore the phone to its factory settings and ensure that everything had been deleted off.

The rest of the process was very straight forward, confirming that I should hopefully get around £32 for my old phone, which will soon be credited to my bank account, without me having to lift a finger.

It was really that simple, I'm now wondering what the fuss was about!  Look, I'm now looking much happier about letting go of that dodgy old phone and setting it free for refurbishment and onto pastures new.

By tomorrow, the phone will be somewhere in Scotland, being refurbished by O2's recycling partner Redeem, and once it's passed quality control, it will be despatched onto its journey, where it will be tracked all the way.

Apparently it should only take two weeks until it reaches its end destination.  Hopefully then it will quickly find its way to its new owner and I then hope they will get in touch.  It's risky I know, but I've sent them a message with my email and phone number.

Oh gawd, I could be opening up a whole new can of worms, but it would be exciting to find out with whom it ends up and to discover what really happens when a phone gets recycled.


If you're interested in recycling your old phone for cash, there are many ways in which you can do it, but it you wish to use O2's service, you can recycle by post and fill your details online, or pop into a store near you.  You don't even need to be a customer.  More information is available at  O2 don't make any profit from this service.  All proceeds from their sales go to their charity Think Big, which supports community projects that help young people.   Other gadgets such as iPods, cameras and even routers can also be recycled, although these are not processed on a cash-back basis.


Karin said...


Karin said...

I bought my first mobile phone abut 8 years ago and am now on my second. I recycled the first one through the Body Shop who were running a scheme at the time to provide women at risk from violence with a quick way to call for help. Mind you, it was a very basic phone, as is my current one.

Some charities can raise funds from mobile phones that are donated to them.

Almost Mrs Average said...

Hi Karin, it's great that it lasted 8 years. I reckon some of my older ones will probably kickstart back into action if I paired them up with their power leads. I think it's definitely a case of the more basic they are, the longer they will last. Good luck with your new one. :)

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