As part of reducing the number of mobile phones that are thrown away, the mobile recycler Refurbly is launching a take-back solution, which means that the company buys phones that have been left in telecom shops, to municipalities and other actors.
The market is estimated to include more than a quarter of a million phones per year in Sweden alone, and the goal is for the phones to be reusable. The launch of the service takes place when the market is wide open.
The manufacturers want used mobile phones to end up with others parts of the world, so that only new mobile phones are sold in the Nordics. Sweden ranks high on the list of consumption of electronics in the world, calculated per capita. We want them to go back to the Nordic market, to stop shipping phones around the world unnecessarily and to get more people to buy a refurbished phone. The newest phones are actually worse than the old ones as they are often more difficult and expensive to repair, says David Lundgren Fetah, founder of Refurbly.
Since the market-leading player in mobile phone recycling left Sweden, there is a big void to fill. Every year around 3.2 million phones are sold in Sweden, which generates over 250,000 tonnes of waste. Refurbly challenges traditional wear and tear consumption by selling refurbished mobile phones. Around 1.5 million Swedes have one or more mobile phones at home that are not used, many phones are left in cupboards at home because they do not know how to recycle them in the best way. At the same time, conflicts and crime are increasing over valuable minerals for mobile phones, such as Cobalt in the Congo. With the new take-back solution, there is now an opportunity for old mobile phones to gain value and use again.
Mobile phones are a major environmental culprit, an aspect that the industry does not take responsibility for. A mobile phone weighing 226 grams creates a whopping 86 kilograms of waste during production. It is not always what is seen that carries the most weight. By now starting a take-back solution, we hope that mobile scrap will decrease and that precious conflict minerals found in mobile phones can be reused. The timing is perfect. There is currently no player who has taken a firm hold of that part of the market. The used market for mobile phones is also smaller in Sweden than abroad, it's time we take our responsibility for a more sustainable world, says David Lundgren Fetah.
The mobile operators must take responsibility in the matter of electronic waste. Green electricity for telephone masts is not enough. A true circular economy is achieved by creating incentives for customers to participate in recycling. I think you have a strong advantage here in terms of branding.
Earlier in the summer, Refurbly took in capital from telecom veterans, such as Johan Dennelind, Erik Hallberg and Emil Nilsson, among others. The investment in repossession is the largest since the capital acquisition.
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