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September 3, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Environmental Science students helping others ditch the brick

Vodafone and Telecom will be accepting students’ old cellphones to be recycled, with bins provided for them at Vic campuses during Clean Up New Zealand Week from September 8-16.

Victoria’s University Business Analyst for Central Services and Environment Committee member Andrew Wilks was approached by the Ministry for the Environment to help with the event. The committee has also joined forces with students from ENV114, as students in this class are given the task of looking at how to improve the environment at Victoria. Promoting this event was one of the topics on offer. Around 30 ENVI groups are organizing activities for the week, including investigating whether using fully recycled paper is best, where to put the recycling bins so they work best, whether there is a good spot for a university garden.

ENV114 tutor Mark Newton says the cellphone recycling provides students with the opportunity to become more aware of the environmental costs of upgrading to a new phone which occurs, on average, every 18 months.

“Telecom and Vodafone will benefit by recycling the precious metals inside the phones that may have otherwise been thrown away. These metals include cadmium, lead, beryllium and arsenic, and come from mining operations from all over the world – operations that have negative environmental impacts,” says Newton.

People can drop off any unwanted cellphones and cellphone accessories in the provided bins that will be at all the Victoria campuses during the week. These will then be sorted through by campus environmental group Gecko, who will sell the working phones for funds for their projects and campaigns, according to Wilks.

Wilks says Vodafone and Telecom will then take the unusable phones away to a recycler in England or Australia where they will either be repaired and go onto third-world countries who use cellphones, or will have parts stripped off and “converted into road cones and all sorts of bits of pieces.”

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