Part one of four finds The Think Big team at O2 talking about disrupting the market to create lasting behavioural change, on a mass scale, to build sustainable solutions and contribute to our goal of helping 10 million people live more sustainable lives. 

Recycling unwanted gadgets has bought much needed support to young people, improved our environmental footprint and provided cash back to customers.  Recycling and cashing in your old phone is easier than ever. 

Our recent “Upcycle” project, which saw artist Sean Miles turn old mobiles into designer shoes, undoubtedly demonstrates that just because a device is old, doesn’t mean its life is over.  Of course, this Upcycling is a fun idea and of course not every phone recycled will be turned into the latest designer shoe!  However, the benefits from recycling unwanted phones and other electronic gadgets can be huge.

Since the programme launch in 2009, O2 Recycle has recycled over 600,000 gadgets which in turn has paid out more than £40 million to our customers, raised £1.7 million for Think Big young people projects and diverted approximately 66 tonnes of electronic waste from landfill.

For us, sending these gadgets to landfill is not an option.

O2 Recycle is just one of the ways that we are extending the life of mobiles.  Where we can, devices are refurbished and given a new life and passed on to increase access to communications in developing markets.  This means that your old mobile, that you were once so attached to, can be enjoyed again by a new owner overseas who is perhaps using a mobile for the very first time or using it to grow his/hers start-up business.

And, where devices can’t be reused, the items are stripped down (with the metals and plastics used to make other products) and recycled responsibly.

And of course, O2 doesn’t take a penny, meaning more cash for customers and more money to support young people in the UK – helping them to gain work skills for life and make a difference to their community.

We are proud of the achievements that O2 Recycle has made to date.  We recycle more phones than any other mobile network.  But there are still a large number of phones that aren’t returned for reuse and recycling.  This suggests that there is loads more that can be done to make a difference.

As we said, recycling your old phone with O2 Recycle has just become even easier.

Our new initiative means that you can instantly trade in your old phone to receive money off your next one.  You can also recycle old gadgets on line or by phone.  So there are lots of ways to get involved!

We hope that projects and initiatives like this and the “Upcycle” campaign encourage people to think about recycling their old handsets increasing the benefits not only for customers, but for young people and the planet too.

O2 Recycle which is part of O2’s Think Big initiative, offers cash payments to those who recycle accepts not just phones but also tablets, MP3 players, handheld consoles, digital cameras and SatNavs.  The scheme is available to O2 customers and non-customers alike and seeks to match the price offered by other recycling schemes for old gadgets.  Any money we make is donated to O2 Think Big, helping young people throughout the UK.

To find out more about our sustainable goals and initiatives see the Think Big Blueprint on our website.

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
Virgin Media
press enquiries
press enquiries