Schools encouraged to join Go For Zero month

Thursday, 04 March, 2021

Schools encouraged to join Go For Zero month

Leading Australian astrophysicist Professor Alan Duffy is the Ambassador for MobileMuster and is encouraging Australians to join the challenge to Go for Zero in March 2021.

MobileMuster’s first target is the 5 million damaged and broken mobile phones lying forgotten in homes and workplaces across Australia. While they may not work anymore, they do represent a valuable stockpile of resources that can be recovered and reused.

As early adopters of new technology, Australian consumers update their phones every 2.5 years on average. That means old phones tend to accumulate along with chargers, cords and other accessories. They are stashed away in case we ever need them or because we don’t know how to get rid of personal data.

Research shows there are 24 million old mobile phones in Australia, and about 5 million of them are broken and include valuable components such as gold, copper, silver and palladium.

Duffy says it’s important that precious metals and other materials are recovered through recycling and then reused in new products. This is one of the principles of the circular economy.

“One electronic device that almost every adult has is the smartphone. This has changed lives, societies and economies. But when they are no longer of use, we throw these devices into a desk draw or cupboard, literally letting all the materials and energy that have gone into making our devices go to waste. Extending the life of your phone and recycling when it reaches the end of its life is a first step in a circular journey that then never ends,” he said.

Returning a phone to MobileMuster for recycling means 95% of materials are recovered and used again. It’s a fantastic outcome.

If all 5 million of those broken phones were recycled, we’d save 9850 tonnes of mineral resources needing to be extracted from the ground. We’d also save 1930 tonnes of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of planning 50,000 trees. Taking part is easy for organisations this March by signing up to be a collection point and encouraging their local community to recycle.

Six easy tips on how every Australian can enact the 3 Rs (Reuse, Recycle and Repair) and Go For Zero March 2021:

  • Make your home, school and business greener. Try going paperless where possible, use smart technologies to help manage electricity usage in the home, school or offline, and power down devices when you’re not using them.
  • Seasonal cleanouts. Make a time every few months to go through your things and see what can be recycled, repaired, regifted or reused. While going through those cupboards, collect your old mobile phones and accessories and drop them off at your nearest participating MobileMuster collection point or order a free mailing satchel. Going through your possessions and working out what is clutter will really make you value the things you love and hold dear!
  • Research. Read up, listen to podcasts, ask an expert, and inform yourself on the small acts we can all take to repair, reuse and recycle the things we own. Understanding where your item will end up once you’ve finished with it will help see its longer term uses and how it could be recycled.
  • Buy consciously. Think before you buy! Ask yourself, do I need it? Look to buy products made with recycled materials and content. Find a retailer or manufacturer who is undertaking sustainable business practices such as recycling, responsible packaging and zero carbon emissions, or are part of a product stewardship program.
  • Understand your impact. Use the MobileMuster calculator to understand the environmental impact and benefits of your recycling —
  • Have the conversation. Talk to friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and students about the importance of recycling, reusing and repairing, and encourage them to take part in the Go For Zero challenge in March 2021.

Join the Schools Challenge

Learning about recycling teaches us valuable lessons about sustainability and how we want to leave the world for future generations. MobileMuster provides practical curriculum material and engaging, supporting resources for the classroom. The education program allows students to look at the impact of mobile technology and encourages them to take action for a sustainable future.

Schools that sign up for the Schools Challenge are supported by MobileMuster with education resources and collection boxes or recycling satchels to make it easy. There’s also more than $24,500 worth of prizes up for grabs.

Students can take take part in a film competition, peruse the digital library and learn more about recycling. Teachers can use the MoibleMuster curriculum guides, order a school kit and access the digital library of videos, interactives, books and articles.

For further information, visit the MobileMuster website. To learn more about Go For Zero, click here.

Image credit: © Aleksey

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