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The Management of Used Mobile Phones in the United Kingdom -- Is exporting for re-use a sufficient solution?

  • Panate Manomaivibool
  • Naoko Tojo
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Publication/Series: Going Green CARE INNOVATION
Document type: Conference paper
Publisher: International CARE Electronics Office

Abstract english

This study examines the management of used mobile phones in the United Kingdom between 2005 and 2008. It shows that the replacement cycle for mobile phones got shorter during the period due to heavy handset subsidies given by mobile network operators. The planned obsolescence presented a business opportunity for the exports of used phones to developing countries. However, the collection for re-use is not a sufficient end-of-life strategy for two reasons. The first is a somewhat dubious fate of re-used phones in developing countries, whether they would ultimately pollute the environment as a result of backyard recycling. Second, the material flow analysis shows that the hibernating stock of uncollected handsets had grew larger during the period. This aging stock of hibernating phones would not be fit for the second hand markets and the WEEE Regulation only had marginal impacts on the collection of these small devices.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Mobile phone
  • Re-use
  • Recycling
  • Waste collection
  • E-waste
  • WEEE


Going Green CARE INNOVATION 2010
Naoko Tojo
E-mail: naoko [dot] tojo [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10