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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


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.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Mobile phone, Re-use, Recycling, Waste collection, E-waste, WEEE
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGoing Green CARE INNOVATION
PublisherInternational CARE Electronics Office
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch
EventGoing Green CARE INNOVATION 2010 - Schoenbrunn Palace Conference Centre, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 2010 Nov 8 → …


ConferenceGoing Green CARE INNOVATION 2010
CitySchoenbrunn Palace Conference Centre, Vienna
Period2010/11/08 → …