O2 “upcycles” old mobile phones into handbags you can speak to no wasting time rummaging in bags when phone rings.

Designer Sean Miles has added to his collection of vintage fashion accessories made from recycled mobile phones, unveiling a series of designer handbags that double as phones as part of a project that illustrates the possibilities of gadget recycling.

These inventions, dubbed the “Bags That Talk” are created by combining iconic designer handbags including a vintage Celine box handbag, a Chloe shoulder bag and an Alexander McQueen clutch bag, with old Nokia and LG handsets sent in by O2 Recycle customers who no longer had a use for them.

And for the fashion conscious man-about-town, a luxury Mulberry messenger bag has been transformed into a retro ghetto blaster-cum-mobile phone, ready to start playing your playlists at the touch of a button as well as giving you the freedom to talk on the move with your built in phone and earphone socket.

The fully-functioning “Bags That Talk” 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:

“The hope is that my final instalment for this innovative project, “The Bags That Talk”, will get people to notice what can be done with mobile phones rather than just sending them to landfill.  The aim of the campaign has been to get the public to think again about the waste created by not recycling gadgets so even if a few more people recycle their gadgets I think this project will have fulfilled what we set out to do.  While these fun innovations may not be to everyone’s tastes it shows what you can do with recycling mobiles; 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.”

The “Bags That Talk” are the last products 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.

The second saw the creation of the “Talk to the Hand” gloves, bringing together vintage Mui Mui and Pineider gloves which had an old mobile phone’s  speaker unit embedded in the thumb and microphone built into in the little finger of the gloves, allowing customers to keep their hands warm while they chat through Bluetooth connection.


Bill Eyres, head of O2 Recycle adds:

“We’ve all got a role to play in making sure that old handsets – and gadgets in general – live on even when we’ve finished with them.  Whether functioning phones are sent on so that others can make use of them or they are stripped for their metals which can be used again, there is a pressing environmental need to think of them as a resource that we need to recycle responsibly rather than dispose of.”

“While we may not be able to upcycle every phone that we receive, I hope that this project will prompt a few more of the 30 million people a year who buy a new handset to recycle their old one. You may not end up with a Bag That Talks of your own, but at the very least 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.


Hope&Glory PR
t: +44 (0)7940 570 288
e: o2@hopeandglorypr.com

O2 Press Office contacts
t: +44 (0)1753 565656
e: pressoffice@o2.com


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 www.o2.co.uk/news. O2 runs 2G, 3G & 4G networks in the UK, as well as owning half of Tesco Mobile. It also operates O2 Wifi, O2 Health, O2 Unify, O2 Media and 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.

About the handbags used

  1. Vintage Celine small box hand bag
  2. Chloe – The Marcie mini leather shoulder bag
  3. Alexander McQueen De Manta animal print clutch bag
  4. Mulberry Men’s slim Brynmore natural leather messenger
Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
Virgin Media
press enquiries
press enquiries