Talk to the Hand: O2 “upcycles” old mobile phones into gloves you can speak into gives a whole new meaning to a mobile “handset”


Artist Sean Miles has added to his collection of vintage fashion accessories made from recycled phone parts, unveiling a pair of gloves that double as a phone in part of a project that illustrates the possibilities of gadget recycling.

Dubbed the “Talk to the Hand,” Miles’ creations use vintage Mui Mui and Pineider gloves, combining them with parts from mobile handsets recycled through O2, which commissioned the project.

The gloves – which comprise a speaker unit embedded in the thumb and microphone built into in the little finger of the gloves – can be connected to any existing mobile phone handset using Bluetooth, meaning customers can keep their hands warm while they chat.

The “Talk to the Hand” gloves have been “upcycled” – the process of converting waste materials or otherwise useless products into a new, desirable item – by Miles and O2 Recycle as part of an on-going exploration of what can be done with recycled gadgets.

O2 Recycle estimates that there are already 70 million unused mobile handsets in the UK and there are an additional 30 million new phones sold annually.* The service pays up to £260 to those who recycle gadgets including phones, handheld consoles, SatNavs, MP3 players and digital cameras.


Designer, Sean Miles, the man behind the designs said:

 “I hope that my Talk to the Hand project will get people to think again about the waste created by not recycling gadgets. While these might not be for everyone, there are hundreds of other uses that old phones can be put to – from being reconditioned and used again to being mined for their components. If a few more people recycle their gadgets rather than send them to landfill, I think this project will have fulfilled its aim.”

The “Talk to the Hand” mobile phone gloves are the second product in a series that O2 Recycle and Miles have created. The first, the “Walkie Talkies” combined vintage footwear (including a brogue, Nike Air trainer, Hunter Wellies and a Christian Louboutin high heel shoe) with old handsets to create customised, fully-functional phones.

Miles is now working on combining phones with handbags – so people don’t spend time rummaging around in their bags to find a phone when it rings.


Bill Eyres, head of O2 Recycle adds:

“There’s a pressing need for all of us to look at old handsets – and all the gadgets that we move on from or upgrade each year, whether consoles or cameras – and think of them as a resource that we need to recycle responsibly rather than dispose of.

“We’ve all got a bit of a use and dispose of mentality when it comes to gadgets we no longer have use for, but in actual fact we all have a role to play in extending the lives of the devices we use. Not least because people like us at O2 Recycle will pay cash to those who do the green thing and recycle.”

O2 Recycle, which is part of the O2 Think Big environment initiative, offers cash payments for 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 will match the price offered by other recycling schemes for old gadgets. All money raised from the recycled phones into the Think Big fund, helping to turn around the lives of young people.



* based on industry sales figures and Opinion Matters research amongst a representative sample of over 1,000 UK adults.


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About O2

O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is a leading communications company with over 23 million customers – read more about O2 at O2 runs 2G and 3G networks and was the first to pilot 4G/LTE, reaching speeds of over 100Mpbs, as well as owning half of Tesco Mobile. It also operates O2 Wifi, O2 Health, O2 Unify, O2 Media and has recently launched the O2 Wallet. O2 employs over 11,000 people in the UK, has 450 retail stores and sponsors The O2, O2 Academy venues and the England rugby team.

Telefónica UK Limited is part of Telefónica Europe plc which uses O2 as its commercial brand in the UK, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic and is a business division of Telefónica SA.


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