Friday, 16 March 2012

It's reached Hong Kong: Tracking my mobile phone with O2Recycle.

Back in January, I did something I'd never done before.  I recycled my old battered mobile phone, working with O2Recycle to track it through their system.

Now, my phone was in a pretty poor condition when it left the UK.  The screen was scratched, the casing was broken and it needed a rubber band to stop the battery falling out.  And there was also the issue of it randomly rebooting itself.   Yet, after assessment, I still received £24 for it, which illustrates how valuable these devices are.

But I wasn't just interested in the cash, I was also interested in how the mobile phone recycling process worked, as well as keen to find out where it would end up.

It's taken a while due to the Chinese New Year and staff holidays, but finally the latest update came through this week.

My phone, a Nokia N97, was initially sent to O2's appointed recycling company, Redeem, which is based in Scotland.  There, it was assessed and categorised as a grade C, highlighting that it would need refurbishment to bring it up to the standard required to be sold onto a new owner.

Nokia phones are currently popular in the Far East so it was packaged up and despatched to the Hong Kong office.  Pictured above is the shipment that contained my phone, arriving in Hong Kong just a couple of weeks after I had handed it in. Deliveries are made every Monday, and upon arrival the phones are unpacked, checked and sorted into model type and condition.

They are then entered onto the company's inventory and are scanned, using the unique barcodes attached to the back of the phones.

When all phones have been scanned and added to the computer system, they are then laid out in plastic crates ready for auction.

Auctions are held every Wednesday and traders arrive from Hong Kong and mainland China to look for popular models that can be easily sold straight away or refurbished. Once they've browsed the stock and tested the phones, the traders fill out their bid sheets with the price they are willing to pay.  The process is very similar to a silent auction, where whey leave the sheets with the receptionist as they depart.

The bids are entered onto the computer and those who have placed the winning bid receive a SMS and return to collect their phones the following day.  The process is so streamlined that phones requiring no repair or refurbishment can be placed on the market within just a few weeks of being sent to Redeem.
I have now received confirmation that my old Nokia has been bought by a trader in Hong Kong, who specialises in refurbishing old phones before selling them at a small phone shop.  It will receive new housing and possibly other parts replaced before being boxed up with new accessories, such as a charger and earphones. It will then be sold onto a member of the public, which could either be a local resident or a tourist.

It still fascinates me that my useless old phone, which would have most likely ended up sitting in a drawer for years, is actually being put to good use over on the other side of the world.

I hope whoever buys it will get in touch.  However I am doubtful, as the Hong Kong office doesn't get that involved with the individual traders.  And although I included my contact details in an accompanying card, there's no guarantee that my message will be understood or not mislaid.

So maybe this is the end of the road as far as my curiosity is concerned.

If I ever get a random text message or email from its new owner I will let you know.

In the meantime, I am very much heartened by the tale that I read at the Little Green Blog, where Mrs Green was able to track her phone all the way to its new owner.  Do pop over and have a read, it really is heart-warming.


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.


photo to painting uk said...

Your article about the mobile phone with O2Recycle is very useful and give me some useful information.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin