Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

December 28, 2004


2003 Cell Phone Collection Rate Drops to 24%

Keywords: Mineral Resources Non-manufacturing industry Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

On June 22, 2004 Japan's Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) and the Communications and Information Network Association of Japan (CIAJ) jointly announced the fiscal 2003 results in Japan for the recycling and resource recovery of cell phones and personal handy phones (PHS, a service unique to Japan). Although 11,717,000 cell phones were recycled in 2003, an increase of 348,000 units from the previous year, the collection rate was down by 5 percentage points to 24 percent. The "resource recovery rate," the percentage of metal content in cell phones, was 19 percent.

The collection rate is the percentage of used cell phones returned to stores at the time of replacement or service cancellation. The rate is calculated from the number of used units returned, divided by the total number of new units shipped from various manufacturers minus the net increase of cell phone and PHS subscribers. Both associations found through analysis that an increasing number of users do not dispose of their old cell phones, even after replacing them with new ones or canceling the service contract because they still used the advanced functions of the old cell phones.

Another survey, conducted in May 2004, revealed that 41.9 percent of users kept their old cell phones. Among them, 24.7 percent said that they kept the old ones for the phone numbers stored, 23.7 percent kept them simply as collectors' items, and 20.2 percent for data backup.

The TCA created the Mobile Recycle Network together with cell phone and PHS carriers. The network voluntarily collects used mobile phones, batteries and chargers produced by any manufacturer, at no charge, at about 8,500 stores all over Japan. The CIAJ, meanwhile, has established guidelines for manufacturers regarding environmental assessments of cell phones and PHS products.

Posted: 2004/12/28 12:16:57 PM
Japanese version