• 1.4 million devices repurposed through O2 Recycle to date
  • Apple iPhones were the most recycled gadget in 2014
  • Bristol is the UK’s number one city for recycling mobile devices

Figures released today by O2 Recycle reveal that environmentally-savvy Brits have been given a total of £100 million for choosing to recycle their old mobile phones and devices, rather than leaving them forgotten in their drawers at home.

O2 Recycle, the leading mobile network recycling service that helps gadget owners get cash for their old digital devices, has received over 1.4 million devices since its launch in 2009.

When taking all the recycled devices into account, stacking them on top of each other, they would reach a height of 135 miles, the same distance to go to Space and back[1].  And through this recycling, 142,000kg of waste has been removed from landfill, the equivalent of nearly 12 London Routemaster buses [2].

During 2014 alone over 420,000 devices were recycled as savvy customers traded in their old models to get the latest devices, with iPhones accounting for 41% of the total – making it the most common gadget to go through the system.

Looking at the nation as a whole, Bristol is the UK’s number one city for recycling mobile devices, followed by Sheffield, Glasgow and Birmingham. However, London falls outside of the top 10, with only one person in every 155 recycling.

There are still many more devices which could be recycled. Green Alliance currently estimates that in the UK alone there are around 76 million phones left unused around people’s homes, worth an estimated £3billion (source: Green Alliance).  To encourage more people to recycle, O2 Recycle customers are currently being offered 10% more for their old and unused digital devices, through O2 Priority.*

It isn’t just consumers that benefit from O2 Recycle, but also businesses.  Since its launch, O2 Recycle has actively given value back to over 1,200 business customers, with many of these businesses choosing to donate all money received from recycled devices directly to Think Big’s youth initiative.

Ronan Dunne, CEO for Telefónica UK said:

“When we launched O2 Recycle in 2009, our ambition was to offer people a simple, environmentally friendly way of disposing of their old tech, and to reward them for doing so by giving them money back, which is why we’re proud to have reached this landmark figure.  Furthermore, O2 Recycle not only gives customers money back for recycling their unwanted gadgets, it also helps to support young people, with money raised through O2 Recycle helping to fund social impact projects in local communities.”

Electronics are the fastest growing waste stream in the world as devices are often discarded before they are unrepairable or technically outdated. O2 Recycle repurposes nine out of ten gadgets by striving to extend the functional life of these devices to cut down their environmental impact.

For every additional year of use, a phone’s carbon footprint is reduced by nearly 30%, meaning that it becomes more environmentally efficient. By avoiding the need to produce another phone, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with its use are reduced.

Jonathon Porritt, Founder Director & Trustee of Forum for the Future said:

“There’s a real challenge facing society with e-waste being the fastest growing waste stream on earth. There’s still much to do on this, but O2 is streets ahead of its competitors. This £100m payout shows that the more you show consumers the value in their old devices, the more they’re eager to recycle. It’s a win for them and for the planet.”

O2 Recycle, part of the O2 Think Big environment initiative, offers cash payments of up to £260 for gadgets, including mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players, handheld consoles, wearable tech, digital cameras and SatNavs. The scheme is available to both O2 and non O2 customers and since launch has raised over £3 million for O2’s Think Big youth initiatives which funds social action projects by 13-25 year olds across the UK.


For more information on O2 Recycle or Think Big visit www.o2recycle.co.uk

* Priority offers are available to O2 Customers only. 16+.Online and internet-enabled phones.  Offers subject to availability and when they’re gone they’re gone – check app for details.  Data charges may apply. See o2.co.uk/terms


1 The Kármán line, or Karman line, lies at an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 mi) above the Earth’s sea level, and commonly represents the boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.[2] This definition is accepted by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which is an international standard setting and record-keeping body for aeronautics and astronautics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_line

2 http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/new-routemaster

About O2 Recycle

Of the £100 million paid to customers half has been paid out directly through the O2 in store recycling scheme where customers can trade in straight away.  Customers trading in via o2recycle.co.uk have earned £45m and with £5million paid to customers through O2 Call Centre trade ins as part of recontracting and telesales calls.

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press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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